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Parasitology Research

, Volume 118, Issue 2, pp 399–409 | Cite as

Ectoparasite sharing among native and invasive birds in a metropolitan area

  • Emilano MoriEmail author
  • Jordi Pascual Sala
  • Niccolò Fattorini
  • Mattia Menchetti
  • Tomas Montalvo
  • Juan Carlos Senar
Arthropods and Medical Entomology - Original Paper

Abstract

Parasite-mediated competition has been reported to be one of the most harmful, although overlooked, impacts that alien species have on native ecosystems. Monk parakeets Myiopsitta monachus are successful invaders in Europe, where they have been introduced from South America. Colonial nests of these parrots may also host other species, e.g. the rock pigeon Columba livia forma domestica. In this work, we analysed the ectoparasite composition of monk parakeets in Barcelona (Spain) and we evaluated their potential role as parasite-mediated competitors, by comparing their parasitic load with that of coexisting rock pigeons. Only two arthropod species were observed on monk parakeets, whereas four species were detected on pigeons. Parakeets were rarely infested by pigeon parasites (prevalence = 0.66%), whereas parakeet mites were recorded more often on pigeons (prevalence = 10.00%). The number of total parasites per bird increased with increasing densities of monk parakeets, both for pigeons and for parakeets. Therefore, overcrowding of birds due to the increasing population of monk parakeets in Barcelona may affect the health status of native pigeons, suggesting a potential role for parasite mediated competition by introduced parakeets. Furthermore, spill-over of alien mites (Ornithonyssus bursa) by monk parakeets to rock pigeons should be monitoring as it may affect human health.

Keywords

Alien species Columba livia Myiopsitta monachus Parasite-mediated competition Spill-back Spill-over 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Birds were handled and ringed with the permission of Institut Català d’Ornitologia and the Environment Department of the Generalitat de Catalunya. We also wish to acknowledge the support provided by COST European Cooperation in Science and Technology Actions ES1304 “ParrotNet” for the development of this manuscript. The contents of this manuscript are the authors’ responsibility and neither COST nor any person acting on its behalf is responsible for the use that may be made of the information contained herein. D. Beal and V. Sfondrini kindly took the time to read our manuscript and improve English language and syntax. Two anonymous reviewers greatly improved our first draft with useful comments.

Author contributions

JCS, JP and EM conceived the idea and wrote most of the paper. TM, JP and JCS collected the parasites; EM and MM identified the parasites of monk parakeets. NF performed the statistical analyses and wrote the relevant part of the manuscript, as well as participated in writing the last draft.

Funding information

The present study was funded by CGL-2016-79568-C3-3-P research project to JCS from the Spanish Research Council (Ministry of Economics and Competiveness).

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.

Data statement

All the data we used are included within the paper, in tables or figures. Further information may be asked by email to the corresponding author, by whom it may concern.

Supplementary material

436_2018_6174_MOESM1_ESM.docx (54 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 53 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della VitaUniversità degli Studi di SienaSienaItaly
  2. 2.Agència de Salut Pública de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Dipartimento di BiologiaUniversità degli Studi di FirenzeFlorenceItaly
  5. 5.Servei de Vigilància i Control de Plagues Urbanes, Agència de Salut Pública de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  6. 6.CIBER Epidemiology and Public Health, Public Salud Agency of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  7. 7.Museu de Ciències Naturals de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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