Oecologia

, Volume 114, Issue 4, pp 574–577

Blood parasites and nest defense behaviour of Tengmalm's owls

  • Harri Hakkarainen
  • Petteri Ilmonen
  • Vesa Koivunen
  • Erkki Korpimäki
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s004420050482

Cite this article as:
Hakkarainen, H., Ilmonen, P., Koivunen, V. et al. Oecologia (1998) 114: 574. doi:10.1007/s004420050482
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Abstract

Infectious diseases are expected to negatively influence essential life history traits of an individual, because investment in immunological response occurs at the expense of reduced investment in other functions. Here we present the first observational evidence that the prevalence of blood parasites is negatively associated with avian nest defense. Because the defense of offspring entails a risk of serious physical harm to the parent, it is also assumed to be a good estimate of parental investment. In both 1994 and 1995, the nest defense intensity of male Tengmalm's owls (Aegolius funereus) against a live American mink (Mustela vison) was strongly curtailed in parents infected by Trypanosoma avium blood parasites. Our data suggests that investment in reproduction can be negatively affected by parasitaemia, and that host-parasite interactions may potentially modify hosts' life-history traits, making it important to consider the costs of parasitism in future studies.

Key words Blood parasitesNest defenseParental investmentTengmalm's owlTrypanosomes

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harri Hakkarainen
    • 1
  • Petteri Ilmonen
    • 1
  • Vesa Koivunen
    • 1
  • Erkki Korpimäki
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Turku, FIN-20014 Turku, Finland Fax: 358-2-333 6550; e-mail: HARRI@HAKKARAINEN.utu.fiFI