Dust-ruffling: A simple method for quantifying ectoparasite loads of live birds

B. A. Walther, D. H. Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a simple, accurate method for quantifying the ectoparasite loads of live birds in the field. Birds were dusted with pyrethrin to irritate their ectoparasites, which were then dislodged from the plumage by ruffling the feathers over a collecting surface for repeated timed bouts until the point of diminishing returns was reached. This method required less equipment and was more accurate and efficient than previously described methods, as we show by comparing our method to other popular approaches. Dust-ruffling is best suited for sampling "permanent" ectoparasites, such as chewing lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera), which pass their entire life cycle on the body of the host.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-518
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Field Ornithology
Volume68
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1997
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

ectoparasite
ectoparasites
dust
bird
birds
Mallophaga
Psocodea
louse
plumage
feather
pyrethrins
Insecta
methodology
feathers
life cycle (organisms)
life cycle
method
sampling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Dust-ruffling : A simple method for quantifying ectoparasite loads of live birds. / Walther, B. A.; Clayton, D. H.

In: Journal of Field Ornithology, Vol. 68, No. 4, 09.1997, p. 509-518.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Walther, B. A. ; Clayton, D. H. / Dust-ruffling : A simple method for quantifying ectoparasite loads of live birds. In: Journal of Field Ornithology. 1997 ; Vol. 68, No. 4. pp. 509-518.
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