University of Tasmania
2011_Box_Meathrel.pdf (235.8 kB)

The lice (Insecta : phthiraptera) of short-tailed shearwaters, ardenna tenuirostris, in Bass Strait, Tasmania

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posted on 2023-11-03, 03:47 authored by C Meathrel, J Box
There is a paucity of research into the louse fauna of Shorttailed Shearwaters, Ardenna tenuirostris (Temminck, 1835), despite this species being one of the world's most studied seabirds (Bradley et al. 1991 and references therein). Research has been undertaken on these shearwaters at their breeding grounds in Bass Strait, Tasmania, since 1947 (Bradley et al. 1991). As Short-tailed Shearwaters are long-lived, with an estimated average longevity of 38 years (Skira et al. 1985), they may offer a long-term host potential to host-dependent ectoparasites (i.e., lice) (Crompton 1997). Also, with approximately 23 million shearwaters breeding in burrows in dense rookeries on the islands and headlands of southern Australia, from southern New South Wales to Tasmania and from Victoria to Western Australia (Marchant & Higgins 1990), there may be the potential for increased transmission of ectoparasites between individual birds. Increased infestation rates by lice have been shown in colonial living birds. For instance, Rozsa et al. (1996) found an increase in louse infestation on Colonial Rooks, Corvus frugilegus Linnaeus, 1758, as compared to the territorial Hooded Crow, Corvus corone cornix Linnaeus, 1758. Short-tailed Shearwaters undertake an annual transequatorial migration to the Bering Sea for the austral winter (Serventy 1967), and so may act as vectors for the transmission of parasites across hemispheres (Lopez et al. 2005, Price et al. 2003). There are three publications that list the lice of Shorttailed Shearwaters. Green & Munday (1971) were the first to document the ectoparasites of Tasmanian fauna, albeit from personal communications- no published literature was cited. Twenty years later, Green & Palma (1991) listed the lice of Tasmania's vertebrates. They essentially used Green & Munday's (1971) list of lice on shearwaters and added Austromenopon paululum, listed as Austromenopon sp. in Green & Munday (1971). Price et al. (2003), in their checklist of the chewing lice (Phthiraptera) of the world, also listed the lice of Short -tailed Shearwaters. Included in this list were two louse species, Naubates harrisoni (Bedford, 1930) and Ancistrona vagelli (Fabricus, 1787), not mentioned in Green & Munday (1971). As part of the long-term research into Bass Strait's Short-tailed Shearwaters, this study aimed to confirm their current louse fauna, detailing the specific location, and collection method, to fill a gap in the primary literature.


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Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania







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