Haematozoan infections in the Eurasian kestrel: Effects of fluctuating food supply and experimental manipulation of parental effort

J. Wiehn, E. Korpimaki, I.R. Pen

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

39 Citaten (Scopus)


The influence of parental effort on susceptibility to parasitism was investigated experimentally in the Eurasian kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) in Finland. Parental effort was manipulated by either enlarging or reducing broods by 1-2 young, while unmanipulated broods served as controls. This was done during 3 breeding seasons, during which the densities of the major prey of kestrels (voles) were relatively low, high and intermediate, respectively. Two, taxon specific, methods were applied for determining the prevalence (per cent individuals infected) of extracellular Trypanosoma spp. and intracellular Haemoproteus spp. infection. Blood samples were taken from females during the incubation phase, and from both parents during the mid-nestling phase. Trypanosoma was more prevalent when food was less available. Furthermore, the increase in the prevalence of Trypanosoma among females was most pronounced during the poor vole year. In contrast, Haemoproteus infection seemed not closely related to annual supply of main prey. Manipulations of parental effort were related to parental infection, but the effect differed between genders. The prevalence of Trypanosoma in males (main provider of young) increased with experimental brood size, and there was an interaction between food supply and brood size manipulation so that the difference in prevalences between reduced and enlarged broods increased with decreasing food supply. Among females, no such an interaction was found. Instead, the effect of brood enlargement on Trypanosoma prevalence of females was apparent in the pear of relatively high vole densities only. Manipulation of brood size did not have clear effects on Haemoproteus infection in either gender. These results support the idea that increased parental effort may make hosts susceptible to haematozoan infection, and are the first to suggest that resource levels (food supply) can modify the susceptibility, indicating that the magnitude of reproductive costs can be attributed to Variation in environmental conditions.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)87-98
Aantal pagina's12
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - jan.-1999

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