Publication
Title
Nestling development and the timing of tick attachments
Author
Abstract
Parasites exposed to fast-developing hosts experience a variety of conditions over a short time period. Only few studies in vertebrate-ectoparasite systems have integrated the timing of ectoparasite infestations in the host's development into the search for factors explaining ectoparasite burden. In this study we examined the temporal pattern of attachment in a nidicolous tick (Ixodes arboricola) throughout the development of a songbird (Parus major). In the first experiment, we exposed bird clutches at hatching to a mix of the 3 tick instars (larvae, nymphs and adults), and monitored the ticks that attached in relation to the average broods' age. In a complementary experiment we focused on the attachment in adult female ticks the largest and most significant instar for the species' reproduction after releasing them at different moments in the nestlings development. Our observations revealed a positive association between the size of the attached instar and the broods' age. Particularly, adult females were less likely to be found attached to recently hatched nestlings, which contrasts with the smaller-sized larvae and nymphs. These differences suggest either an infestation strategy that is adapted to host physiology and development, or a result of selection by the hosts' anti-tick resistance mechanisms. We discuss the implications of our results in terms of tick life-history strategies.
Language
English
Source (journal)
Parasitology. - London, 1908, currens
Publication
London : 2012
ISSN
0031-1820 [print]
1469-8161 [online]
Volume/pages
139:6(2012), p. 766-773
ISI
000304008100010
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (open access)
UAntwerpen
Faculty/Department
Research group
Publication type
Subject
Affiliation
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Record
Identification
Creation 09.01.2012
Last edited 04.10.2017
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