Macroparasites of introduced parakeets in Italy: a possible role for parasite-mediated competition
Alien species are considered a cause of biodiversity loss throughout the world. An important but often overlooked form of competition with native species is the parasite-mediated one. Introduced species may bring their own parasites from their native ranges (spillover) or get native parasites from native species, thus increasing the parasites’ spread and transmission risk (spillback). Thus, a complete knowledge of parasites hosted by introduced species is important to assess and to possibly prevent impacts. Ring-necked and monk parakeets have been introduced in many European countries, where they established a number of alien reproductive populations. We sampled 21 ring-necked parakeets and 7 monk parakeets from Italy and identified 35 arthropod ectoparasites belonging to five species. Amongst those, one species was native to India (Neopsittaconirmus lybartota), where alien populations of ring-necked parakeet may have been originated, and one species from South America (Paragoniocotes fulvofasciatus), which is typically found of the monk parakeet in its native range. The other three species of arthropod parasites were native to Italy and commonly found on native species, suggesting the possibility of spillback processes.
KeywordsAlien species Monk parakeet Ring-necked parakeet Ectoparasites Spillover Spillback
We thank S. Martone and M. Scalzo for the parasite collection respectively in Pavia and Follonica, as well as Francesca Manzia and the staff of LIPU’s wildlife rescue centre of Rome for helping in parasite collection in Rome. Fabio Mazzetto and Enrico Busato (University of Turin) kindly took pictures to some parasites. We acknowledge the support provided by European Cooperation in Science and Technology COST Action ES1304 (ParrotNet) for the realisation of this paper. The contents of this paper are the authors’ responsibility and neither COST nor any person acting on its behalf is responsible for the use which might be made of the information contained in it. An anonymous reviewer kindly improved the first draft of this manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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