Bacterial microbiota composition of a common ectoparasite of cavity‐breeding birds, the Hen Flea Ceratophyllus gallinae

Tuomas Aivelo, Barbara Tschirren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Experimental field studies have demonstrated negative fitness consequences of Hen Flea Ceratophyllus gallinae infestations for bird hosts, yet it is currently unclear whether these negative effects are a direct consequence of flea-induced blood loss or a result of flea-borne pathogen transmission. Here we used a 16S rRNA gene sequencing approach to characterize the bacterial microbiota community of Hen Fleas collected from Great Tit Parus major nests and found that Brevibacterium (Actinobacteria), Staphylococcus (Firmicutes), Stenotrophomonas (Proteobacteria), Massilia (Proteobacteria), as well as the arthropod endosymbionts 'Candidatus Lariskella' and 'Candidatus Midichloria' were most abundant. We found evidence for the occurrence of Staphylococcus spp. in Hen Fleas, which may cause opportunistic infections in bird hosts, but not of other known pathogens commonly transmitted by other flea species, such as Bartonella spp. or Rickettsia spp. However, Hen Fleas might transmit other pathogens (e.g. viruses or bacteria that are not currently recognized as bird pathogens), which may contribute to the negative fitness consequences of Hen Flea infestations in addition to direct blood loss or secondary infections of wounds caused by biting fleas.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIbis
Volume162
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)1088-1092
Number of pages5
ISSN0019-1019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
  • garden birds
  • host-parasite interactions
  • microbiome
  • nestboxes
  • next generation sequencing
  • pathogens
  • public health
  • wildlife disease
  • zoonotic diseases
  • RICKETTSIA-FELIS
  • COMMUNITIES
  • VECTORS

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