Excretion patterns of coccidian oocysts and nematode eggs during the reproductive season in Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita)

Frigerio, Didone, Cibulski, Lara, Ludwig, Sonja C., Campderrich, Irene, Kotrschal, Kurt and Wascher, Claudia A. F. (2016) Excretion patterns of coccidian oocysts and nematode eggs during the reproductive season in Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita). Journal of Ornithology, 157 (3). pp. 839-851. ISSN 2193-7206

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-015-1317-z


Individual reproductive success largely depends on the ability to optimize behaviour, immune function and the physiological stress response. We have investigated correlations between behaviour, faecal steroid metabolites, immune parameters, parasite excretion patterns and reproductive output in a critically endangered avian species, the Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita). In particular, we related haematocrit, heterophil/lymphocyte ratio, excreted immune-reactive corticosterone metabolites and social behaviour with parasite excretion and two individual fitness parameters, namely, number of eggs laid and number of fledglings. We found that the frequency of excretion of parasites’ oocysts and eggs tended to increase with ambient temperature. Paired individuals excreted significantly more samples containing nematode eggs than unpaired ones. The excretion of nematode eggs was also significantly more frequent in females than in males. Individuals with a high proportion of droppings containing coccidian oocysts were more often preened by their partners than individuals with lower excretion rates. We observed that the more eggs an individual incubated and the fewer offspring fledged, the higher the rates of excreted samples containing coccidian oocysts. Our results confirm that social behaviour, physiology and parasite burden are linked in a complex and context-dependent manner. They also contribute background information supporting future conservation programmes dealing with this critically endangered species.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: parasite burden, Northern Bald Ibis, Geronticus eremita, reproduction
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 31 May 2016 15:25
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2022 15:41
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/611268

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