Navigation Links
Hitch-hiking with birds for life
Date:5/14/2012

Although chewing lice spend their entire lives as parasites on birds, it is difficult to predict patterns of lice distribution, new research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, reveals.

Researcher Daniel Gustafsson has studied chewing lice on sandpipers around the world and investigated how host birds' migration patterns affect louse distribution and reationships.

With no wings and very small eyes, chewing lice are, by and large, helpless away from their host.

Daniel Gustafsson has studied species of chewing lice that live on the birds' wings and compared them with species that live on their body feathers.

"Given that chewing lice are almost totally dependent on direct contact between two birds to spread, lice that sit on birds' wings should find it easier to use occasional contact between two hosts to spread than those that sit closer to birds' bodies," Daniel Gustafsson says.

Unexpected results

But contrary to expectation, it would appear that body lice can spread more easily than wing lice, even though they live on parts of their host that less frequently come into contact with other birds.

"This is surprising as body lice should be more limited to one particular species of bird," Daniel Gustafsson says. "The real opportunities for spreading should be between parents and their offspring in the nest, or between adult birds during mating."

Genetic and morphological data from two different genera show complicated patterns.

"Wing lice from small bird host species are found on more host species than those that parasitize larger bird host species," Daniel Gustafsson says.

Genetically almost identical

Another unexpected result is that the body lice on almost all sandpipers worldwide, with the exception of those on dunlins and ruffs, are genetically almost identical.

"Sandpipers are incredibly mobile," Daniel Gustafsson says. "They breed around the Polar Circle but fly to the tropics during the Arctic winter, following specific migration routes known as flyways."

He has studied sandpipers in Sweden, Japan, Australia, and Canada.

When sandpipers migrate, they do so in enormous flocks, often tens of thousands strong and containing several different species. These winter flocks should offer excellent opportunities for the lice to spread as the birds often stand in tight groups at high tide and at night.

"But it would appear that several factors other than geography play a role, including the size of the host bird," Daniel Gustafsson explains. "Specific rest and wintering environments probably play a role, too, as some of the host birds that generally winter in fresh water localities carry species of wing lice that differ from those that live on bird species that are mainly found on the seashore."

Common on mammals

Some chewing lice have also been found hitch-hiking on louse flies, which are related to deer flies. In such cases they attach themselves to the louse flies' legs and abdomen.

Other chewing lice have been seen to switch between host ducks by walking on the water surface.

Chewing lice are common in birds and most groups of mammals. There are two species that live on humans: pubic lice and head lice.The thesis has been successfully defended.


'/>"/>

Contact: Daniel Gustafsson
daniel.gustafsson@bioenv.gu.se
46-031-786-3666
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Captain Birdseyes robotic nose
2. Beavers: Dam good for songbirds
3. Genetic evidence for avian influenza movement from Asia to North America via wild birds
4. Practice as well as sleep may help birds learn new songs
5. The birds of Spain, in a digital ornithological encyclopedia
6. Shade coffee benefits more than birds
7. Birds in Flint Hills of Kansas, Oklahoma face population decline despite large habitat
8. Climate change affecting Europes birds now, say researchers
9. Female birds jam their mates flirtatious songs
10. Its for the birds
11. CCNY, CSHL biologists find birdsong of isolates reverts to norm over several generations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Hitch-hiking with birds for life
(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and ... prisons involved, it has secured the final acceptance ... facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, ... facilities to be installed by October, 2016. MAS ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio ... that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" ... collaboration will result in greater convenience for SACU ... while maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... , June 1, 2016 ... in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global ... a recently released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics ... Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the ... billion by 2021, on account of growing security concerns ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has ... Association to serve as their official health care ... Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, ... coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. "We ... Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality services ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... announced the launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, ... explore the future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LONDON , June 23, 2016 ... & Hematology Review, 2016;12(1):22-8 http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 ... Review , the peer-reviewed journal from touchONCOLOGY, ... the escalating cost of cancer care is placing ... a result of expensive biologic therapies. With the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) ... QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate the development ... laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to help high-potential ... for many early stage organizations - access to laboratory ... Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, providing each ...
Breaking Biology Technology: