Avian haemosporidian detection across source materials: prevalence and genetic diversity
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Avian haemosporidians make up one of the most widely distributed and diverse vector borne parasite systems, found nearly worldwide in tropical and temperate areas. Despite the clear relationship between avian host fitness measures and infection, few studies have addressed the importance of source material selection when assessing these relationships. We show that source material, here blood and pectoral muscle, do not yield equivalent results when assessing prevalence and genetic diversity of haemosporidian genera. We find higher prevalence and genetic diversity are recovered from blood versus pectoral muscle for Haemoproteus. Contrastingly, we find that a higher prevalence of Plasmodium is detected from pectoral muscle, while higher genetic diversity is recovered from blood. Our results indicate that source material may bias parasite detection and be an important factor in study design, which is not only related to parasite infection, but by extension to the ecology and fitness of avian hosts.
author list (cited authors)
Harvey, J. A., & Voelker, G.