Advertisement

Polar Biology

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 625–631 | Cite as

Tick infestations correlates at a Falkland Islands Black-browed Albatross colony

  • Miguel FerrerEmail author
  • Virginia Morandini
Short Note

Abstract

The tick Ixodes uriae is an ectoparasite widely distributed among seabirds throughout circumpolar regions, usually associated with seabird colonies. Nevertheless, potential effects of infestations, especially in chicks, are not well documented. In this article, we studied factors associated with probability and intensity of infestations in Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys nestlings in a colony at the Falklands Islands. We compared the body measurements, physiological parameters, distance to other nests and position inside the colony between infested and non-infested 40 Black-browed Albatross nestlings. Ticks were present in 60% of the nestlings with a mean number per nestlings of 1.47. None of the 12 analysed blood parameters but LDH (Lactate dehydrogenase) showed significant differences between infested and not infested nestlings. Nestlings infected showed significant higher level of LDH than those without ticks. The number of ticks found on each nestling was positively and significantly correlated with their LDH blood levels. Tarsus length (as a proxy of age) and distance to the nearest nest showed a significant effect, with younger nestlings with closer nests showing higher probability to be infected. These variables also affect intensity of infestation. No effects of nutritional condition (butyrate or urea levels) or body condition (residuals of cubic root of mass/tarsus length regression) on probability or intensity of infestation were found. Both small anaemias and tick scars would explain the different values of LDH between infected/non-infected chicks. The low level of infestation found in our colony could be the cause of a non-detectable effect of the presence of ticks on nestling body condition and other blood parameters related to metabolism of fat or protein.

Keywords

Ticks Nestling albatross Seabirds Blood chemistry Nutritional state LDH 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the Falkland Island government and the Fundacion Migres that supported the present study. We are especially grateful to David and Suzan Pole-Evans for their support of this project. We are also grateful to Keith Bildstein for the revision of the English text.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no conflict of interest in this study.

Ethical approval

Procedures used in this study comply with the current laws for working on the Falklands Islands. Permits to work in the study area and on the albatrosses were granted by the Falkland Government (R12/2014), as well as by the owners’ of the Saunders Island. All applicable international, national, and/or institutional ethical guidelines (CSIC ethical committee) for the care and use of animals were followed.

References

  1. Barbosa A, Benzal J, Vidal V, D’Amico V, Coria N, Diaz J et al (2011) Seabird ticks (Ixodes uriae) distribution along the Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biol 34:1621–1624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barbosa A, Palacios MJ (2009) Health of Antarctic birds: a review of their parasites, pathogens and diseases. Polar Biol 32:1095–1115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barton TR, Harris MP, Wanless S (1995) Natural attachment duration of nymphs of the tick Ixodes uriae (Acari: Ixodidae) on kittiwake Rissa tridactyla nestlings. Exp Appl Acarol 19:499–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Benoit JB, Lopez-Martinez G, Elnitsky MA, Lee RE, Denlinger DL (2009) Increase in feeding by the tick, Ixodes uriae, on Adelie penguins during a prolonged summer. Antarct Sci 21:151–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bergström S, Haemig PD, Olsen B (1999) Increased mortality of black-browed albatross chicks at a colony heavily-infested with the tick Ixodes uriae. Int J Parasitol 29:1359–1361CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Boulinier T, Danchin E (1996) Population trends in Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla colonies in relation to tick infestation. Ibis 138:326–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brooke M (2004) Albatrosses and petrels across the world. Oxford Univ Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  8. Campioni L, Granadeiro JP, Catry P (2017) Albatrosses prospect before choosing a home: intrinsic and extrinsic sources of variability in visit rates. Anim Behav 128:85–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chastel C, Monnat JY, Le Lay G, Balouet G (1987) Infestation et hyperinfestation de la Mouettetridactyle, Rissa tridactyla L. par des tiques (Ixodes (Ceratixodes) uriae, Ornithodoros (Alectorobius)maritimus): consequences pathologiques. Ann Parasitol Hum Comp 62:492–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. De Lope F, Gonzalez G, Perez JJ, Møller AP (1993) Increased detrimental effects of ectoparasites on their bird hosts during adverse environmental conditions. Oecologia 95:234–240CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Descamps S (2013) Winter temperature affects the prevalence of ticks in an arctic seabird. PLoS ONE 8:e65374CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Duffy DC (1983) The ecology of tick parasitism on densely nesting Peruvian seabirds. Ecology 64:110–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Eveleigh ES, Threlfall W (1974) The biology of Ixodes (Ceratixodes) uriae White, 1852 in New Found land. Acarologia 16:621–635Google Scholar
  14. Feare CJ (1976) Desertion and abnormal development in a colony of Sooty Terns Sterna fuscata infested by virus-infected ticks. Ibis 118:112–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ferrer M (1990) Hematological studies in birds. Condor 92:1085–1087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ferrer M, Amat JA, Viñuela J (1994) Daily variations of blood chemistry values in the Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) during the Antarctic summer. Comp Biochem Physiol A 107:81–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ferrer M, Morandini V, Perry L, Bechard M (2016) Sex determination by morphological measurements of Black-browed Albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophrys) using discriminant analysis. Waterbirds 39:295–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ferrer M, Morandini V, Perry L, Bechard M (2017a) Physiological conditions of parent and offspring Black-browed Albatrosses Thalassarche melanophris. Bird Study 64:187–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ferrer M, Morandini V, Perry L, Bechard M (2017b) Factors affecting plasma chemistry values of the Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys. Polar Biol 40:1537–1544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Flint VB, Kostyrko IN (1967) On the biology of the tick lxodes putus. Zool Zh 46:1253–1256Google Scholar
  21. Frenot Y, de Oliveira E, Gauthier-Clerc M, Deun VJ, Bellido A, Vernon P (2001) Life cycle of the tick Ixodes uriae in penguin colonies: relationship with host breeding activity. Int J Parasitol 31:1040–1047CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. García-Rodríguez T, Ferrer M, Recio F, Castroviejo J (1987) Circadian rhythms of determined blood chemistry values in Buzzards and Eagle Owls. Comp Biochem Phys A 88:663–669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gauthier-Clerc M, Clerquin Y, Handrich Y (1998) Hyperinfestation by ticks Ixodes uriae: A possible cause of death in adult King Penguins, a long-lived seabird. Col Waterbirds 21:229–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gauthier-Clerc M, Manguin S, Le Bohec C, Gendner JP, Le Maho Y (2003) Comparison of behaviour, body mass, haematocrit level, site fidelity and survival between infested and non-infested King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus by ticks Ixodes uriae. Polar Biol 26:379–382Google Scholar
  25. Health ACG (1977) Zoogeography of the New Zealand tick fauna. Tuatara 23:26–40Google Scholar
  26. King KA, Keith JO, Mitchell CA, Keirans JE (1977) Ticks as a factor of nest desertion of California Brown Pelicans. Condor 79:507–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Major L, Linn ML, Slade RW, Schroder WA, Hyatt AD, Gardner J, Cowley J, Suhrbier A (2009) Ticks associated with Macquarie island penguins carry arboviruses from four genera. PLoS ONE 4:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mangin S, Gauthier-Clerc M, Frenot Y, Gendner J-P, LeMaho Y (2003) Ticks Ixodes uriae and the breeding performance of a colonial seabird, king penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus. J Avian Biol 34:30–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McCoy KD, Boulinier T, Schjørring S, Michalakis Y (2002) Local adaptation of the ectoparasite Ixodes uriae to its seabird host. Evol Ecol Res 4:441–456Google Scholar
  30. McCoy KD, Chapuis E, Tirard C, Boulinier T, Michalakis Y, Le Bohec C, Le Maho Y, Gauthier-Clerc M (2005) Recurrent evolution of host-specialized races in a globally-distributed parasite. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sc 272:2389–2395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Morbey YE (1996) The abundance and effects of ticks (Ixodesuriae) on nestlings Cassin’s Auklets (Ptychorramphus aleuticus) at Triangle Islands, British Columbia. Can J Zool 74:1585–1589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Muñoz-Leal S, González-Acuña D (2015) The tick Ixodes uriae (Acari: Ixodidae): hosts, geographical distribution, and vector roles. Ticks Tick Borne Dis 6:843–868CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Murray MD, Vestjens WJM (1967) Studies on the ectoparasites of seals and penguins. [II. The Distribution of the tick Ixodes uriae White and the flea Parapsyllus magellanicus heardi de Meillon on Macquane Island. Aust J Zool 157:15–725Google Scholar
  34. Muzaffar SB, Jones IL (2007) Activity periods and questing behavior of the seabird tick Ixodes uriae (acari: ixodidae) on gull island, newfoundland: the role of Puffin chicks. J Parasitol 93:258–264CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Nuttall PA (1984) Tick-borne viruses in seabird colonies. Seabird 7:31–41Google Scholar
  36. Olsén B, Jaenson TG, Noppa L, Bunikis J, Berström S (1993) A Lyme Borreliosis cycle in seabirds and Ixodes uriae ticks. Nature 362:340–342CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Schramm F, Gauthier-Clerc M, Fournier JC, McCoy KD, Barthel C, Postic D et al (2014) First detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato DNA in king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus halli). Ticks Tick-borne Dis 5:939–942CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Sonenshine DE (1991) Biology of ticks, vol. 1 Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  39. Steig EJ, Schneider DP, Rutherford RD, Mann ME, Comisso JC, Shindell DT (2009) Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year. Nature 457:459–463CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Wanless S, Barton TR, Harris MP (1997) Blood haematocrit measurements of 4species of North Atlantic seabirds in relation to levels of infestation by the tick Ixodes uriae. Colon Waterbirds 20:540–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Weimerskirch H, Jouventin P (1998) Changes in population sizes and demographic parameters of six albatross species breeding on the French sub-Antarctic islands. In: Robertson G, Gales R (eds) Albatross biology and conservation. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, pp 84–91Google Scholar
  42. Wilson N (1970) Metastigmata: ixodidae of South Georgia, Heard and Kerguelen. Pac Insect Monogr 23:78–88Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Applied Ecology GroupEstación Biológica de Doñana (CSIC)SevilleSpain
  2. 2.Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and WildlifeOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

Personalised recommendations