Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 23
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Santiago-Alarcon, Diego MacGregor-Fors, Ian Kühnert, Katharina Segelbacher, Gernot and Schaefer, H. Martin 2016. Avian haemosporidian parasites in an urban forest and their relationship to bird size and abundance. Urban Ecosystems, Vol. 19, Issue. 1, p. 331.

    Bell, Jeffrey A. Weckstein, Jason D. Fecchio, Alan and Tkach, Vasyl V. 2015. A new real-time PCR protocol for detection of avian haemosporidians. Parasites & Vectors, Vol. 8, Issue. 1,

    Biard, Clotilde Monceau, Karine Motreuil, Sébastien Moreau, Jérôme and Metcalf, Jessica 2015. Interpreting immunological indices: The importance of taking parasite community into account. An example in blackbirdsTurdus merula. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 6, Issue. 8, p. 960.

    Biedrzycka, Aleksandra Migalska, Magdalena and Bielański, Wojciech 2015. A quantitative PCR protocol for detecting specific Haemoproteus lineages: molecular characterization of blood parasites in a Sedge Warbler population from southern Poland. Journal of Ornithology, Vol. 156, Issue. 1, p. 201.

    Dinhopl, Nora Nedorost, Nora Mostegl, Meike M. Weissenbacher-Lang, Christiane and Weissenböck, Herbert 2015. In situ hybridization and sequence analysis reveal an association of Plasmodium spp. with mortalities in wild passerine birds in Austria. Parasitology Research, Vol. 114, Issue. 4, p. 1455.

    Smith, Matthew M. Schmutz, Joel Apelgren, Chloe and Ramey, Andrew M. 2015. A real-time, quantitative PCR protocol for assessing the relative parasitemia of Leucocytozoon in waterfowl. Journal of Microbiological Methods, Vol. 111, p. 72.

    Bichet, Coraline Sorci, Gabriele Robert, Alexandre Julliard, Romain Lendvai, Ádám Z Chastel, Olivier Garnier, Stephane and Loiseau, Claire 2014. Epidemiology ofPlasmodium relictumInfection in the House Sparrow. Journal of Parasitology, Vol. 100, Issue. 1, p. 59.

    Rząd, I. Sitko, J. Sałamatin, R. and Wysocki, D. 2014. Helminth community structure study on urban and forest blackbird (Turdus merula L.) populations in relation to seasonal bird migration on the south Baltic Sea coast (NW Poland). Helminthologia, Vol. 51, Issue. 2,

    Sitko, J. and Zaleśny, G. 2014. The effect of urbanization on helminth communities in the Eurasian blackbird (Turdus merula L.) from the eastern part of the Czech Republic. Journal of Helminthology, Vol. 88, Issue. 01, p. 97.

    Zélé, Flore Vézilier, Juilen L’Ambert, Gregory Nicot, Antoine Gandon, Sylvain Rivero, Ana and Duron, Olivier 2014. Dynamics of prevalence and diversity of avian malaria infections in wild Culex pipiens mosquitoes: the effects of Wolbachia, filarial nematodes and insecticide resistance. Parasites & Vectors, Vol. 7, Issue. 1, p. 437.

    Rooyen, Juan van Lalubin, Fabrice Glaizot, Olivier and Christe, Philippe 2013. Altitudinal variation in haemosporidian parasite distribution in great tit populations. Parasites & Vectors, Vol. 6, Issue. 1, p. 139.

    Santiago-Alarcon, Diego Mettler, Raeann Segelbacher, Gernot and Schaefer, H. Martin 2013. Haemosporidian parasitism in the blackcapSylvia atricapillain relation to spring arrival and body condition. Journal of Avian Biology, Vol. 44, Issue. 6, p. 521.

    Synek, P. Albrecht, T. Vinkler, M. Schnitzer, J. Votýpka, J. and Munclinger, P. 2013. Haemosporidian parasites of a European passerine wintering in South Asia: diversity, mixed infections and effect on host condition. Parasitology Research, Vol. 112, Issue. 4, p. 1667.

    Synek, Petr Munclinger, Pavel Albrecht, Tomáš and Votýpka, Jan 2013. Avian haemosporidians in haematophagous insects in the Czech Republic. Parasitology Research, Vol. 112, Issue. 2, p. 839.

    Christe, P. Glaizot, O. Strepparava, N. Devevey, G. and Fumagalli, L. 2012. Twofold cost of reproduction: an increase in parental effort leads to higher malarial parasitaemia and to a decrease in resistance to oxidative stress. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 279, Issue. 1731, p. 1142.

    Delgado-V., Carlos A. and French, Kris 2012. Parasite–bird interactions in urban areas: Current evidence and emerging questions. Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 105, Issue. 1-2, p. 5.

    Asghar, Muhammad Hasselquist, Dennis and Bensch, Staffan 2011. Are chronic avian haemosporidian infections costly in wild birds?. Journal of Avian Biology, Vol. 42, Issue. 6, p. 530.

    KNOWLES, SARAH C. L. WOOD, MATTHEW J. ALVES, RICARDO WILKIN, TEDDY A. BENSCH, STAFFAN and SHELDON, BEN C. 2011. Molecular epidemiology of malaria prevalence and parasitaemia in a wild bird population. Molecular Ecology, Vol. 20, Issue. 5, p. 1062.

    MEGALI, A. YANNIC, G. and CHRISTE, P. 2011. Disease in the dark: molecular characterization of Polychromophilus murinus in temperate zone bats revealed a worldwide distribution of this malaria-like disease. Molecular Ecology, Vol. 20, Issue. 5, p. 1039.

    Biard, Clotilde Saulnier, Nicolas Gaillard, Maria and Moreau, Jérôme 2010. Carotenoid-based bill colour is an integrative signal of multiple parasite infection in blackbird. Naturwissenschaften, Vol. 97, Issue. 11, p. 987.


Sensitive measure of prevalence and parasitaemia of haemosporidia from European blackbird (Turdus merula) populations: value of PCR-RFLP and quantitative PCR

  • S. BENTZ (a1), T. RIGAUD (a1), M. BARROCA (a1), F. MARTIN-LAURENT (a2), D. BRU (a3), J. MOREAU (a1) and B. FAIVRE (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2006

Haemosporidian parasites are common in birds in which they act as an important selective pressure. While most studies so far have focused on the effect of their prevalence on host life-history traits, no study has measured the effect of parasitaemia. We developed molecular methods to detect, identify and quantify haemosporidia in 2 natural populations of the Blackbird Turdus merula. Three different parasite genotypes were found – 1 Haemoproteus and 2 Plasmodium. A PCR-RFLP screening revealed that only approximately 3% of blackbirds were free of parasites, compared to the 34% of uninfected birds estimated by blood smear screening. A quantitative PCR (q-PCR) assay revealed a weaker parasitaemia in microscopically undetected parasites compared to microscopically detected ones. Large parasitaemia differences were found between parasite species, suggesting either differing parasite life-histories or host resistance. Parasitaemias were also weaker in male hosts, and in urban habitats, suggesting that both host factors (e.g. immunity) and habitat characteristics (e.g. vector availability) may modulate parasite density. Interestingly, these differences in parasitaemia were comparable to differences in parasite prevalence estimated by smear screening. This suggests that previous results obtained by smear screening should be reinterpreted in terms of parasitaemia instead of parasite prevalence.

Corresponding author
Equipe Ecologie Evolutive, UMR CNRS 5561 Biogéosciences, Université de Bourgogne, 6 Bd Gabriel, 21000 Dijon, France. Tel:+33 (0)3 80 39 62 06. Fax:+33 (0)3 80 39 62 31. E-mail:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *