Alternative nest-building behavior of the Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus) and the Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) in the Judean Foothills, and the parasitic and non-parasitic arthropod fauna in their nests

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2013
Authors:G. Friedemann, Izhaki, I., Leshem, Y., Mumcuoglu, K. Y.
Journal:Isreal Journal of Entomology
Volume:43
Pagination:11 - 19
Keywords:alternative nest, arthropods, Isreal, Long-legged Buzzard, Parasites, Short-toed Eagle
Abstract:

<p>One of the most common explanations of the alternative nest-building behavior&nbsp;in raptors&rsquo; population is the &ldquo;Ectoparasite-avoidance&rsquo;&rsquo; hypothesis,&nbsp;which claims that switching to alternative nests each year reduces nests&rsquo;&nbsp;parasites that could decrease their breeding success. Our aim was to investigate&nbsp;this hypothesis concerning the Judean Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo&nbsp;rufinus) and Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) population, in Israel.&nbsp;Furthermore, we also investigated whether any specific parasites for each&nbsp;of these raptors&rsquo; species actually exist.</p> <p>Thirty-one nests of Long-legged Buzzards (LLB) and 61 nests of Shorttoed&nbsp;Eagles (STE) were located and systematically examined during the&nbsp;period of February-September 2011, in an area of 450 km2 in the Judean&nbsp;Foothills, Israel. Nest material samples were collected from the center of&nbsp;the nest of 26 LLB and 45 STE nests. Four specimens of the Mallophaga&nbsp;Laemobothrion maximum were isolated from three nests of LLB and one&nbsp;male of Degeeriella leucopleura from a nest of STE. In addition, a hard&nbsp;tick larva (Rhipicephalus sp.), an argasid nymph (Argas sp.) and six specimens&nbsp;of dermanyssid mites were &nbsp;isolated from nests of STE. In 82.1% of&nbsp;the LLB nests, Coleoptera larvae and/or adults were found, most of them&nbsp;belonging to the families Scarabaeidae, Buprestidae, Elateridae and Dermestidae.&nbsp;In 89.8% of the STE nests, Coleoptera larvae and/or adults were&nbsp;found, most of them belonging to the families Buprestidae, Tenebrionidae,&nbsp;Curculionidae, Dermestidae, Elateridae, Coccinellidae and&nbsp;Chrysomelidae.&nbsp;The vast majority of the isolated beetles were damaged and in more or&nbsp;less small pieces. In addition, few specimens of silverfish (Lepismatidae),&nbsp;book lice (Psocidae), ants (Formicidae) and true flies (Muscidae), as well&nbsp;as spiders (Araneae), scorpions (Scorpionida) and pseudoscorpions (Pseudoscorpionida)&nbsp;were isolated from the nests of both species.</p> <p>Although nest parasites were actually found, in significant small numbers,&nbsp;we cannot support the &ldquo;ectoparasite-avoidance&rdquo; hypothesis in our study&nbsp;system. Furthermore, no species specific ectoparasites for either LLB or&nbsp;STE were found.</p>

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith