Data from: On the specificity of avian blood parasites: revealing specific and generalist relationships between haemosporidians and biting midges
Cite this dataset
Martínez-de la Puente, Josué et al. (2011). Data from: On the specificity of avian blood parasites: revealing specific and generalist relationships between haemosporidians and biting midges [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9100
The study of host-parasite relationships involving vector-borne parasites requires understanding interactions between parasites and vectors. The capacity of haemosporidians to infect insects has clear evolutionary consequences for the transmission of diseases. Here we investigated (1) the associations between blood parasites, biting midges and birds and (2) the potential specificity between biting midge and haemosporidian haplotypes. A total of 629 parous biting midges Culicoides and 224 wild birds (belonging to seven species) from a locality of central Spain were examined individually to detect the presence of Haemoproteus and Plasmodium parasites by sequencing a fragment of the cytochrome B gene. Biting midges were identified morphologically and characterised on the basis of a fragment of the cytocrome c oxidase (COI) gene. Overall 12 Haemoproteus and 3 Plasmodium haplotypes were isolated and sequenced. Among them, 10 haplotypes were exclusively isolated from biting midges, three haplotypes only from birds and two haplotypes from both biting midges and birds. Biting midge haplotypes showed both specific and generalist relationships with Haemoproteus haplotypes but only generalist relationships with Plasmodium haplotypes. Several C. festivipennis and C. kibunesis haplotypes established significant coevolutionary links with Haemoproteus haplotypes. These results help to understand the specificity of vector-blood parasite interactions.