Wildlife Conservation Society
A new report by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Disease Ecology Laboratory of Instituto de Ciencias Veterinarias del Litoral, Argentina (ICIVET LITORAL, UNL-CONICET) shows that increases in precipitation and changes in vegetative structure in Argentine forests — factors driven by climate change and deforestation in the region — are leading to increased parasitism of young nesting birds by fly larvae (botflies) of the species Philornis torquans.
|This great kiskadee chick was infected with botfly larvae. Credit: Dario Manzoli|
In temperate and tropical areas of the Americas, wild bird chicks are the target of parasitic flies whose larvae burrow under the skin of the baby birds to feed, causing a disease known as subcutaneous myiasis. In the study, scientists examined the circumstances that drive the abundance of these parasites and found that slight changes in precipitation and vegetation structure, coupled with crowding of nests resulted in large increases in the number of parasites per chick.
The report, Multi-level Determinants of Parasitic Fly Infection in Forest Passerines, appears in the current online edition of PLOS ONE. Authors include Pablo Beldomenico of WCS’s Global Health Program and Director of the Disease Ecology Laboratory, and Dario Ezequiel Manzoli, Leandro Raul Antoniazzi, Maria Jose Saravia, Leonardo Silvestri, and David Rorhmann, all of ICIVET LITORAL, UNL-CONICET.