Curitiba (Brazil) Porto Alegre (Brazil)
The bird parasitic fly genus PhilornisMeinert, 1890 (Diptera, Muscidae) comprises 51 species (Carvalho et al. 1993; Couri 2000) and has a mainly Neotropical distribution (Carvalho & Couri 2002). These flies are known by their peculiar larval habits, since most species are subcutaneous blood-feeding parasites of nestling birds on larval stages (Skidmore 1985; Couri 1999). The knowledge of Philornis associations is important because haematophagous nest parasites influence both reproductive success and nest site selection in birds (Loye & Carrol 1998). Parasitism by Philornis larvae represents a significant source of mortality for birds, and may become a management problem for host species facing extinction risk (Snyder et al. 1987; Fessl et al., in press). There is some evidence, for example, that the spreading of an edge bird species that serves as host for Philornis larvae may increase parasitism rate over sympatric species of conservation concern (Snyder et al. 1987). Here we report the parasitism of P.masoniCouri, 1986 on a nestling of Guira guira (Gmelin, 1788) (Cuculiformes, Cuculidae), a common open-country cuckoo with a wide distribution in eastern South America.
A mature larva of P. masoniwas collected from a nestling G. guira that fell from its nest on 17 January 2002 at Morungava (29°47'S, 50°53'W, 200 m), municipality of Gravataí, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The larva abandoned its host naturally and was allowed to pupate in laboratory conditions at the Museu de Ciências Naturais, Fundação Zoobotânica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. It was placed in a small plastic vessel containing earth and enclosed in a plastic bag. An adult female emerged about 15–20 days later and was deposited at the entomological collection of the Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil (DZUP).
Philornis masoni is characterized by intradermical haematophagous larvae (Couri 1999) and is known to associate with five other species of birds (Couri 1986), all of which are passerines, namely, Anumbius annumbi (Vieillot, 1817), Synallaxis spixiSclater, 1856, Cranioleuca pyrrhophia (Vieillot, 1818) (Furnariidae), TyrannusmelancholicusVieillot, 1819 (Tyrannidae), and Molothrus bonariensis (Gmelin, 1789) (Icteridae). Among the Cuculidae, only Crotophaga aniLinnaeus, 1758 and Coccyzus melacoryphus Vieillot, 1817 had been previously reported as hosts for Philornis flies (Couri 1985; Teixeira 1999; Fessl et al. 2001).
Besides the new host record, this note also provides a new geographical record for P. masoni. This species was originally described by Couri (1986) based on specimens from Department of Colonia, Uruguay, and has not been found elsewhere. With the present record, the species’ known range is extended to adjacent southern Brazil.
The authors are grateful to Dr Claudio J. B. de Carvalho (DZUP) for valuable comments. S. S. N. thanks the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for financial support (Process number 141936/2000-2). This paper is the contribution number 1383 of the Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Federal do Paraná.
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