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Does weather affect biting fly abundance in avian nests?

AuthorsMartínez de la Puente, Josué ; Merino, Santiago ; Lobato, Elisa ; Rivero de Aguilar, Juan ; Cerro Gómez, Sara del ; Ruiz de Castañeda, Rafael ; Moreno Klemming, Juan
Issue Date2009
PublisherNordic Ecological Society Oikos
CitationJournal of Avian Biology, 40: 653-657 (2009)
AbstractEnvironmental factors may strongly affect avian-biting fly interactions in different ways because insects are heterothermic organisms that depend greatly on environmental variables to activate their metabolism and behaviour. We studied the effects of weather on both blackfly (Simuliidae) and biting midge Culicoides (Ceratopogonidae) abundance in nests of three passerine species: blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus, great tits Parus major and pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca, breeding in the same area. We controlled for different host-related factors (hatching date, brood size and host species). Blackfly abundance was negatively related to minimum temperature. In addition, blackfly and biting midge abundances were negatively affected by wind speed measured at 07.00 h, but blackfly abundance was positively associated to wind speed at 18.00 h. We found higher blackfly and biting midge abundances in nests with larger broods breeding later in the season, and significantly higher biting midge abundance in pied flycatcher nests as compared to tit nests. These results represent, to our knowledge, the first report of both environmental and host-related effects on haematophagous fly abundance in the nests of wild hole-nesting birds
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-048X.2009.04726.x
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