Vol. 34 (2018)

Ectoparasites associated with a Great Horned Owl nesting (Aves: Strigidae) population in fragmented landscape of Baja California peninsula, Mexico

Raquel Bolaños-García
Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, La Paz, B.C.S.: Laboratory of Spatial Ecology and Conservation
Ricardo Rodríguez-Estrella
University of Arizona
Carmen Guzmán-Cornejo
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México: Facultad de Ciencias

Publicado 2018-11-16

Palabras clave

  • Piojo,
  • moscas,
  • volantones,
  • Búho Cornudo,
  • área fragmentada,
  • México
  • ...Más
  • Lice,
  • flies,
  • fledglings,
  • Great Horned owl,
  • fragmented área,
  • Mexico
  • ...Más

Cómo citar

Bolaños-García, R., Rodríguez-Estrella, R., & Guzmán-Cornejo, C. (2018). Ectoparasites associated with a Great Horned Owl nesting (Aves: Strigidae) population in fragmented landscape of Baja California peninsula, Mexico. ACTA ZOOLÓGICA MEXICANA (N.S.), 34(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.21829/azm.2018.3412142


Ectoparasites are important in avian host population because they can affect health condition, regulate population dynamics and alter interspecific competition. Studies of ectoparasites in wild raptors are scarce and even few have been made in owls. This is the first study of the prevalence and intensity of ectoparasites in Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) fledglings. We studied ectoparasites on fledglings from nests in a fragmented arid landscape at Baja California peninsula, during the breeding seasons of 2015 and 2017. The fledglings of 40 days of age were handled and taken from their nests for the collection of ectoparasites. A total of 81 epizoic species were collected from 36 nestlings from 15 nests, distributed in five orders: Diptera (Icosta americana); Hemiptera (Cimicidae gen. sp.); Phthiraptera (Neohaematopinus sciurinus, Colpocephalum pectinatum); Siphonaptera (Orchopea sp.) and Mesostigmata (Ornihtonysus sylviarum). Likewise, one species of chewing lice (n=5) (Geomydoecus telli) and one species of feather mite (n=7) were also recorded associated with the Great Horned Owl. Five species were hematophagous parasites. Louse fly I. americana and chewing louse C. pectinatum showed the highest levels of prevalence (26.5% and 20.6% respectively), while the hematophagous feather mite Ornihtonysus silviarum presented the higher mean intensity in only one nest (15.5). The flea Orchopea sp. and the chewing louse G. telli and sucking louse N. sciurinus exhibited the lowest values of prevalence and mean intensity; these species have been recorded in association mainly with rodents, so probably they could have been transmitted to the owls when they were captured as preys and taken into their nest. Additionally a bug (Cimicidae gen. sp.) was found in one host. Colpocephalum pectinatum is the first recorded from Great Horned owl, such as new host. The abundance of ectoparasites in one owl nest was independent of their abundance in neighbor nests (Moran´s I = 0.010; z = 0.16, P > 0.05). We discuss the implications of ectoparasitism for a Great Horned owl population in fragmented habitat of the Baja California arid desert.


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