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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Attacks on the endangered Attwater's Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) by black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae)infected with an avian blood parasite

item Adler, Peter
item Roach, Donna
item Reeves, Will
item Flanagan, Joseph
item Morrow, Michael

Submitted to: Journal of Vector Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/27/2007
Publication Date: 1/9/2008
Publication URL:
Citation: Adler, P.H., Roach, D., Reeves, W.K., Flanagan, J.P., Morrow, M.E. 2008. Attacks on the endangered Attwarer's Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) by black flies infected with an avian blood parasite. Journal of Vector Ecology. Vol. 32, No. 2, p. 309-312.

Interpretive Summary: Attwater's Prairie-Chicken is a wild bird attacked by blood feeding black flies. These flies harbor a bird malaria. We suggest that black fly control might be important in protecting the Attwater's Prairie-Chicken.

Technical Abstract: With fewer than 50 birds remaining in the wild, Attwater's Prairie-Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) is critically endangered. Individuals of the Attwater Prairie-Chicken have been attacked in successive winters, 2005-2006, by the black fly Cnephia ornithophilia. Attwater's Prairie-Chicken is a previously unreported host for Cnephia ornithophilia. About 15% of 13 blood-fed flies collected from captured Attwater's Prairie-Chickens carried a parasite of the genus Leucocytozoon, which can cause debilitating avian malarie-like disease. If blood feeding or transmission of the disease agent becomes a threat to the birds, particularly in years of lean food supply or harsh weather, management of larval populations of Cnephia ornithophilia should be considered.

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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