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Persistent low avian malaria in a tropical species despite high community prevalence
- Eastwood, Justin R., Peacock, Lee, Hall, Michelle L., Roast, Michael, Murphy, Stephen A., Gonçalves da Silva, Anders, Peters, Anne
- International journal for parasitology 2019 v.8 pp. 88-93
- avian malaria, birds, parasites, phylogeny, temporal variation, Australasian region
- Malarial and other haemosporidian parasites are widespread; however, their temporal dynamics are ill-understood. Longitudinal sampling of a threatened riparian bird revealed a consistently very low prevalence over 13 years (∼5%) despite infections persisting and prevalence increasing with age. In contrast, three key species within this tropical community were highly infected (∼20–75% prevalence) and these differences were stable. Although we found novel lineages and phylogenetic structure at the local level, there was little geographic structuring within Australasia. This study suggests that malarial parasite susceptibility is determined by host factors and that species can maintain low levels despite high community prevalence.