Ectoparasitism shortens the breeding season in a colonial bird
Brown, Charles R.
Brown, Mary Bomberger
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When blood-feeding parasites increase seasonally, their deleterious effects may prevent some host species, especially those living in large groups where parasites are numerous, from reproducing later in the summer. Yet the role of parasites in regulating the length of a host’s breeding season—and thus the host’s opportunity for multiple brooding—has not been systematically investigated. The highly colonial cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota), a temperate-latitude migratory songbird in the western Great Plains, USA, typically has a relatively short (eight to nine week) breeding season, with birds rarely nesting late in the summer.
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