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Abundance and stability of populations of chewing lice (Phthiraptera: Amblycera and Ischnocera) infesting two species of woodpeckers (Aves: Piciformes: Picidae)

  • Robert J. Lamb (a1) and Terry D. Galloway (a1)

Abstract

The annual abundance of chewing lice (Phthiraptera) was recorded from 1996 to 2015 in Manitoba, Canada, on two species of woodpeckers (Piciformes: Picidae). Yellow-bellied sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus varius (Linnaeus)) were infested with Menacanthus pici (Denny) (Amblycera: Menoponidae) and Penenirmus auritus (Scopoli) (Ischnocera: Philopteridae); northern flickers (Colaptes auratus (Linnaeus)) were also infested with M. pici, as well as two other Ischnocera, Penenirmus jungens (Kellogg) and Picicola porisma Dalgleish. The mean annual abundance varied from nine to 51 lice per bird for the four species, with prevalence, mean intensity, sex ratio, and nymphs per female also varying among louse species. Menacanthus pici populations on both hosts were unstable: abundance rose over two decades because of increasing prevalence, whereas the abundance of the other three louse species fluctuated around a mean. Population variability was similar for the lice on both hosts, with the metric, PV, ranging from 0.41 to 0.51 on a 0–1 scale, once the effect of the trend in abundance for M. pici had been removed. Although the population dynamics for species of lice on these two woodpeckers were distinct, inter-specific differences in population stability were less pronounced than observed in the few other species of bird lice studied in this way.

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1 Corresponding author (e-mail: Terry_Galloway@umanitoba.ca)

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Subject editor: Cory Sheffield

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References

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