Master of Science
Date of Defense
Patricia Parker, PhD
An avian malaria parasite of the genus Plasmodium has been detected consistently in the Galapagos Penguin (Speniscus mendiculus) in recent years. Subsequent screening of passerines has revealed more PCR positive birds, with most of them sampled on the southern coasts of Isabela and Santa Cruz islands. We sampled the two zoophilic mosquito species (Aedes taeniorhynchus and Culex quinquefasciatus) using both CDC light traps and CDC gravid traps along an altitudinal gradient from the southern coasts of these islands to the highlands to investigate whether mosquitoes occur at all elevations, and whether there may be mosquito-free refugia at higher elevation zones as there is in Hawaii. Both species were captured at all sites, except that C. quinquefasciatus was not detected at the highest elevation site on Santa Cruz. By PCR screening of pooled mosquito samples, we detected the avian Plasmodium parasite lineage infecting the Galapagos Penguin in Aedes taeniorhynchus at the lowest elevation site on Isabela, with a prevalence of 0.07% estimated by MIR. In addition, we screened mosquito salivary gland preparations by microscopy, and detected trypanosomes in both mosquito species and on both islands. Further work is needed to determine any threat that these parasites may pose to Galapagos bird populations.
Hartman, Daniel Anthony, "Galapagos Mosquitoes as Avian Disease Vectors" (2014). Theses. 30.