Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Determinando la vulnerabilidad aviar a los ectoparásitos usando rasgos morfológicos y de historia natural


Lili K. Prahl



Download Full Text (316 KB)

Publication Date

December 2006


Avian parasitism is the cause of many negative effects on host organisms including decreased fitness through reproductive failure and reduced health. There is increasing research being done to assess the characteristics of bird host morphology and natural history that influence the presence and abundance of ectoparasites on these hosts. This study attempts to create an index of sensitivity that can be used for different bird species in order to determine their expected vulnerability to ectoparasites. This index uses five parameters: bird weight and bill length, both determined by field work, as well as bird behavior, habitat, and population density. This index was then compared to data collected that determined the presence of mites in seven different bird species of Monteverde, Costa Rica. The index proved to be accurate for the most extreme cases but failed to accurately predict the presence of ectoparasites in bird species in the middle range of the index.


El parasitismo en las aves es la causa de muchos efectos negativos en estos organismos. De esto deriva la importancia de investigar si las características morfológicas y la historia de la especie de ave influyen en la presencia y la abundancia de ectoparásitos en estos anfitriones. Este estudio procura crear un índice de sensibilidad que puede ser utilizada para determinar la vulnerabilidad esperada a los ectoparásitos en las diferentes especies de aves.


Ectoparasitic infestations, Hummingbirds, Biological fitness, CIEE Fall 2006

Palabras claves

Infestaciones ectoparasitarias, Colibríes, Aptitud biológica, CIEE Otoño 2006


9 pages

Geographic Location

Cañitas (Guanacaste, Costa Rica)

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





Determining avian vulnerability to ectoparasites using morphological and natural history traits, December 2006



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