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Repeatability of Feather Mite Prevalence and Intensity in Passerine Birds

AuthorsDíaz-Real, Javier; Serrano, David ; Pérez-Tris, Javier; Fernández-González, Sofía; Bermejo, Ana; Calleja, Juan A.; De la Puente, Javier; De Palacio, Diana; Martínez, José L.; Ponce, Carlos ; Frías, Óscar; Tella, José Luis ; Moller, Anders P.; Figuerola, Jordi ; Pap, Peter L.; Kovacs, Istvan; Vágási, Csongor, I.; Meléndez, Leandro; Blanco, Guillermo ; Aguilera, Eduardo ; Senar, Juan Carlos ; Galván, Ismael ; Atiénzar, Francisco; Barba, Emilio; Cantó, José L.; Cortés, Verónica; Monros, J.S.; Piculo, Rubén; Vögeli, Matthias; Borràs, Antoni; Navarro, Carlos ; Mestre, Alexandro; Jovani, Roger
Issue Date2014
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 9: e107341 (2014)
AbstractUnderstanding why host species differ so much in symbiont loads and how this depends on ecological host and symbiont traits is a major issue in the ecology of symbiosis. A first step in this inquiry is to know whether observed differences among host species are species-specific traits or more related with host-symbiont environmental conditions. Here we analysed the repeatability (R) of the intensity and the prevalence of feather mites to partition within- and among-host species variance components. We compiled the largest dataset so far available: 119 Paleartic passerine bird species, 75,944 individual birds, ca. 1.8 million mites, seven countries, 23 study years. Several analyses and approaches were made to estimate R and adjusted repeatability (Radj) after controlling for potential confounding factors (breeding period, weather, habitat, spatial autocorrelation and researcher identity). The prevalence of feather mites was moderately repeatable (R=0.26¿0.53; Radj = 0.32¿0.57); smaller values were found for intensity (R = 0.19¿0.30; Radj = 0.18¿0.30). These moderate repeatabilities show that prevalence and intensity of feather mites differ among species, but also that the high variation within species leads to considerable overlap among bird species. Differences in the prevalence and intensity of feather mites within bird species were small among habitats, suggesting that local factors are playing a secondary role. However, effects of local climatic conditions were partially observed for intensity.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107341
issn: 1932-6203
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