Host specificity and co-speciation in avian haemosporidia in the Western Cape, South Africa

Okanga, Sharon, Cumming, Graeme, Hockey, Philip A.R., Nupen, Lisa, and Peters, Jeffrey L. (2014) Host specificity and co-speciation in avian haemosporidia in the Western Cape, South Africa. PLoS ONE, 9 (2). pp. 1-11.

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Abstract

Host and pathogen ecology are often closely linked, with evolutionary processes often leading to the development of host specificity traits in some pathogens. Host specificity may range from 'generalist', where pathogens infect any available competent host; to 'specialist', where pathogens repeatedly infect specific host species or families. Avian malaria ecology in the region remains largely unexplored, despite the presence of vulnerable endemic avian species. We analysed the expression of host specificity in avian haemosporidia, by applying a previously developed host specificity index to lineages isolated from wetland passerines in the Western Cape, South Africa. Parasite lineages were isolated using PCR and identified when possible using matching lineages deposited in GenBank and in MalAvi. Parasitic clades were constructed from phylogenetic trees consisting of Plasmodium and Haemoproteus lineages. Isolated lineages matched some strains of Plasmodium relictum, P. elongatum, Haemoproteus sylvae and H. lanii. Plasmodium lineages infected a wide range of hosts from several avian families in a generalist pattern of infection. Plasmodium spp. also exhibited an infection trend according to host abundance rather than host species. By contrast, Haemoproteus lineages were typically restricted to one or two host species or families, and displayed higher host fidelity than Plasmodium spp. The findings confirm that a range of host specificity traits are exhibited by avian haemosporidia in the region. The traits show the potential to not only impact infection prevalence within specific host species, but also to affect patterns of infection at the community level.

Item ID: 40941
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Additional Information:

© 2014 Okanga et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

A correction was issued for this article: Okanga, S., Cumming, G.S., Hockey, P.A.R., Nupen, L., and Peters, J.L. (2015) Correction: Host specificity and co-speciation in Avian haemosporidia in the Western Cape, South Africa. PLoS ONE, 10. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129188

ISSN: 1932-6203
Funders: National Research Foundation of South Africa, International Foundation for Science (IFS)
Projects and Grants: IFS Grant No. D/4995-1
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2015 00:42
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 33%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070704 Veterinary Epidemiology @ 33%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070708 Veterinary Parasitology @ 34%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960404 Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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