Comparative survey of the ectoparasite fauna of wild and farm-reared red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa), with an ecological study in wild populations

Javier Millán, Christian Gortazar, María Paz Martín-Mateo, Rafael Villafuerte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


We compared the ectoparasite fauna of 89 wild red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa) from four hunting estates and 25 farm-reared partridges from three farms. We found 62% of the wild but only 20% of the farmed partridges harboured ectoparasites. On the wild partridges, one hippoboscid fly species (Ornithophila metallica, 2%), two tick species (Ixodes frontalis, 2%; Hyalomma sp., 17%) and eight louse species were found (Menacanthus lyali, 3%; M. numidae, 3%; Menopon pallens, 21%; Myrsidea picae, 1%; Goniocotes obscurus, 17%; G. simillimus, 1%; Goniodes dispar, 35%; Cuclotogaster obscurior, 28%). Only two louse species (G. obscurus, 8%; C. obscurior, 20%) were found on farmed partridges. Lice prevalence, abundance and species richness were higher in wild birds (44%, 17.0, 1.1) than in farmed partridges (20%, 1.3, 0.3). Lice prevalence and abundance were higher in dead-found (54%, 21.6) than in shot (23%, 2.3) or live-trapped wild partridges (no lice). Tick prevalence and abundance was higher in live-trapped (100%, 1.14) than in dead-found (13%, 0.5) or shot partridges (7%, 0.1). In dead-found partridges, the total louse prevalence and abundance, the number of louse species and the abundance of G. dispar, G. obscurus, C. obscurior and M. pallens were negatively correlated with partridge body condition; and this correlation for G. dispar abundance was more pronounced in juveniles than in adult partridges. Since juvenile individuals were also more parasitised by C. obscurior and Hyalomma sp., an acquired immunity against arthropods seems to be relevant. Released partridges are not a source of new ectoparasites, but these birds may come into contact with many arthropod species with which they had no previous contact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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