Love thy neighbour? Social nesting pattern, host mass and nest size affect ectoparasite intensity in Darwin's tree finches

Kleindorfer, Sonia and Dudaniec, Rachael Y. (2009) Love thy neighbour? Social nesting pattern, host mass and nest size affect ectoparasite intensity in Darwin's tree finches. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 63 5: 731-739. doi:10.1007/s00265-008-0706-1


Author Kleindorfer, Sonia
Dudaniec, Rachael Y.
Title Love thy neighbour? Social nesting pattern, host mass and nest size affect ectoparasite intensity in Darwin's tree finches
Journal name Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0340-5443
1432-0762
Publication date 2009-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00265-008-0706-1
Volume 63
Issue 5
Start page 731
End page 739
Total pages 9
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Social nesting behaviour is commonly associated with high prevalence and intensity of parasites in intraspecific comparisons. Little is known about the effects of interspecific host breeding density for parasite intensity in generalist host-parasite systems. Darwin's small tree finch (Camarhynchus parvulus) on Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos Islands, nests in both heterospecific aggregations and at solitary sites. All Darwin finch species on Santa Cruz Island are infested with larvae of the invasive blood-sucking fly Philornis downsi. In this study, we test the prediction that total P. downsi intensity (the number of parasites per nest) is higher for nests in heterospecific aggregations than at solitary nests. We also examine variation in P. downsi intensity in relation to three predictor variables: (1) nest size, (2) nest bottom thickness and (3) host adult body mass, both within and across finch species. The results show that (1) total P. downsi intensity was significantly higher for small tree finch nests with many close neighbours; (2) finches with increased adult body mass built larger nests (inter- and intraspecific comparison); (3) parasite intensity increased significantly with nest size across species and in the small tree finch alone; and (4) nest bottom thickness did not vary with nest size or parasite intensity. These results provide evidence for an interaction between social nesting behaviour, nest characteristics and host mass that influences the distribution and potential impact of mobile ectoparasites in birds.
Keyword Body mass
Darwin's finches
Ectoparasites
Nesting aggregation
Nest size
Philornis-Downsi Diptera
Galapagos-Islands
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: ERA 2012 Admin Only
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