Acta Parasitologica

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 297–303 | Cite as

Low prevalence of haemosporidian parasites in the introduced house sparrow (Passer domesticus) in Brazil

  • Marcos Robalinho Lima
  • Lucy Simpson
  • Alan Fecchio
  • Cynthia M. Kyaw


Species that are introduced to novel environments can lose their native pathogens and parasites during the process of introduction. The escape from the negative effects associated with these natural enemies is commonly employed as an explanation for the success and expansion of invasive species, which is termed the enemy release hypothesis (ERH). In this study, nested PCR techniques and microscopy were used to determine the prevalence and intensity (respectively) of Plasmodium spp. and Haemoproteus spp. in introduced house sparrows and native urban birds of central Brazil. Generalized linear mixed models were fitted by Laplace approximation considering a binomial error distribution and logit link function. Location and species were considered as random effects and species categorization (native or non-indigenous) as fixed effects. We found that native birds from Brazil presented significantly higher parasite prevalence in accordance with the ERH. We also compared our data with the literature, and found that house sparrows native to Europe exhibited significantly higher parasite prevalence than introduced house sparrows from Brazil, which also supports the ERH. Therefore, it is possible that house sparrows from Brazil might have experienced a parasitic release during the process of introduction, which might also be related to a demographic release (e.g. release from the negative effects of parasites on host population dynamics).


Plasmodium Haemoproteus nested PCR enemy release hypothesis invasive species house sparrow 


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Copyright information

© © Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Wien 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcos Robalinho Lima
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lucy Simpson
    • 2
  • Alan Fecchio
    • 3
  • Cynthia M. Kyaw
    • 4
  1. 1.Departamento de Ecologia-IB, Pós-Graduação em EcologiaUniversidade de BrasíliaBrasília, DFBrazil
  2. 2.Centre of Ecology and Conservation, School of BiosciencesUniversity of ExeterCornwallUK
  3. 3.Instituto de Ciências BiológicasPós-Graduação em Biologia AnimalBrasília, DFBrazil
  4. 4.Departamento de Biologia Celular-IB, Laboratório de MicrobiologiaUniversidade de BrasíliaBrasília, DFBrazil

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