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PAPER: Chewing lice of 3 weavers

2012-11-19 (297)

Halajian A, Sychra O, Luus-Powell W, Engelbrecht D. 2012. Chewing lice of the genus Myrsidea (Phthiraptera: Amblycera: Menoponidae) from passerines (Aves: Passeriformes) in South Africa, with descriptions of three new species. Zootaxa 3442: 58-68

Abstract. A total of 144 individuals of 46 bird species belonging to the 20 families were examined for chewing lice in South Africa. Considering only the genus Myrsidea, a total of 19 birds of 8 species were parasitised with 8 species of Myrsidea. Descriptions and illustrations are given for three new species of Myrsidea. The new species and their type hosts are: Myrsidea aynazae ex Phyllastrephus flavostriatus (Sharpe) (Pycnonotidae), Myrsidea eslamii ex Zoothera gurneyi (Hartlaub) (Turdidae) and Myrsidea mariquensis ex Bradornis mariquensis Smith (Muscicapidae). Records of new host-louse associations are: Phyllastrephus terrestris Swainson (Pycnonotidae) for Myrsidea sp., Ploceus intermedius Ruppell (Ploceidae) for Myrsidea sp., and Turdus libonyanus (Smith) (Turdidae) for Myrsidea sp.

Birds were caught in mist nets at five study sites in the Limpopo Province, South Africa, from November 2011 to March 2012. Chewing lice were collected by visual examination and using the fumigation chamber method.

A new louse-host association was claimed for the Lesser Masked Weaver Ploceus intermedius for Myrsidea sp. However, Lindholm et al. 1998 [reference in the reviewed paper] listed Myrsidea sp. on an adult Lesser Masked Weaver. The lice were represented by nymphs only, which makes their identification to the species level impossible. The three weavers caught and listed in this paper were:
Ploceus intermedius 1 of 1 - Myrsidea sp. - 1 nymph.
Ploceus velatus 3 of 4 - M. textoris - 1 adult male, 6 nymphs.
Sporopipes squamifrons 3 of 7 - M. eisentrauti - 2 adult females, 4 nymphs.
The weavers were all caught in the Polokwane Game Reserve.

This is an open access paper - download a pdf here.

Photo (above): adult male Lesser Masked Weaver

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