Feather mites (Astigmata) are distributed around the world, living on the feathers of birds, but their mechanisms for transmission among hosts are not fully understood. There is anecdotal evidence of feather mites attached to louseflies (Diptera: Hippoboscidae), suggesting that feather mites may use these flies as a mode of phoretic transmission among birds. Two bird–lousefly associations (alpine swift Apus melba–Crataerina melbae and feral pigeon Columba livia–Pseudolynchia canariensis) were inspected to test the hypothesis that feather mites use hippoboscid flies as major mode of transmission. Both bird species showed a high prevalence and abundance of feather mites and louseflies. However, no feather mites were found attached to the 405 louseflies inspected, although skin mites (Epidermoptidae and Cheyletiellidae) were found on louseflies collected from feral pigeons. This study suggests that feather mites do not use hippoboscid flies as a major mode of transmission among birds.
Are Hippoboscid Flies a Major Mode of Transmission of Feather Mites?
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R. Jovani, J. L. Tella, D. Sol, D. Ventura; Are Hippoboscid Flies a Major Mode of Transmission of Feather Mites?. J Parasitol 1 October 2001; 87 (5): 1187–1189. doi: https://doi.org/10.1645/0022-3395(2001)087[1187:AHFAMM]2.0.CO;2
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