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Can-Chao YANG, Dong-Lai LI, Long-Wu WANG, Guo-Xian LIANG, Zheng-Wang ZHANG, Wei LIANG. Geographic variation in parasitism rates of two sympatric cuckoo hosts in China. Zoological Research, 2014, 35(1): 67-71. doi: 10.11813/j.issn.0254-5853.2014.1.067
Citation: Can-Chao YANG, Dong-Lai LI, Long-Wu WANG, Guo-Xian LIANG, Zheng-Wang ZHANG, Wei LIANG. Geographic variation in parasitism rates of two sympatric cuckoo hosts in China. Zoological Research, 2014, 35(1): 67-71. doi: 10.11813/j.issn.0254-5853.2014.1.067

Geographic variation in parasitism rates of two sympatric cuckoo hosts in China

doi: 10.11813/j.issn.0254-5853.2014.1.067
  • Received Date: 2013-04-11
  • Rev Recd Date: 2013-07-10
  • Publish Date: 2014-01-08
  • Rates of brood parasitism vary extensively among host species and populations of a single host species. In this study, we documented and compared parasitism rates of two sympatric hosts, the Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) and the Reed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei), in three populations in China. We found that the Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) is the only parasite using both the Oriental Reed Warbler and Reed Parrotbill as hosts, with a parasitism rate of 22.4%-34.3% and 0%-4.6%, respectively. The multiple parasitism rates were positively correlated with local parasitism rates across three geographic populations of Oriental Reed Warbler, which implies that higher pressure of parasitism lead to higher multiple parasitism rate. Furthermore, only one phenotype of cuckoo eggs was found in the nests of these two host species. Our results lead to two conclusions: (1) The Oriental Reed Warbler should be considered the major host of Common Cuckoo in our study sites; and (2) obligate parasitism on Oriental Reed Warbler by Common Cuckoo is specialized but flexible to some extent, i.e., using Reed Parrotbill as a secondary host. Further studies focusing on egg recognition and rejection behaviour of these two host species should be conducted to test our predictions.
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  • [1] Adamík P, Husvek J, Cepák J. 2009. Rapid decline of Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus parasitism in Red-backed Shrikes Lanius collurio. Ardea, 97: 17-22.
    [2] Antonov A, Stokke BG, Moksnes A, Røskaft E. 2006. Coevolutionary interactions between common cuckoos and corn buntings. The Condor, 108(2): 414-422.
    [3] Antonov A, Stokke BG, Moksnes A, Røskaft E. 2007. First evidence of regular common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus, parasitism on eastern olivaceous warblers, Hippolais pallida elaeica. Naturwissenschaften, 94(4): 307-312.
    [4] Cui B, Yang Q, Yang Z, Zhang K. 2009. Evaluating the ecological performance of wetland restoration in the Yellow River Delta, China. Ecological Engineering, 35(7): 1090-1103.
    [5] Davies NB. 2000. Cuckoos, Cowbirds and Other Cheats. London: Poyser.
    [6] Dyrcz A, Nagata H. 2002. Breeding ecology of the eastern great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus orientalis at Lake Kasumigaura, central Japan. Bird Study, 49(2): 166-171.
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    [8] Moksnes A, Røskaft E. 1988. Responses of Fieldfares Turdus pilaris and Bramblings Fringilla montifringilla to experimental parasitism by the Cuckoo Cuculus canorus. Ibis, 130(6): 535-539.
    [9] Moskát C, Honza M. 2002. European cuckoo Cuculus canorus parasitism and host’s rejection behaviour in a heavily parasitized great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus population. Ibis, 144(4): 614-622.
    [10] Moskát C, Takasu F, Muñoz AR, Nakamura H, Bán M, Barta Z. 2012. Cuckoo parasitism on two closely-related Acrocephalus warblers in distant areas: a case of parallel coevolution? Chinese Birds, 3(4): 320-329.
    [11] Polačiková L, Porcházka P, Cherry MI, Honza M. 2009. Choosing suitable hosts: common cuckoo Cuculus canorus parasitize great reed warblers Acrocephalus arundinaceus of high quality. Evolutionary Ecology, 23(6): 879-891.
    [12] Robson C. 2002. A field guide to the birds of south-east Asia. London: New Holland.
    [13] Stokke BG, Hafstad I, Rudolfsen G, Bargain B, Beier J, Campàs DB, Dyrcz A, Honza M, Leisler B, Pap PL, Patapavičiuc R, Procházka P, Schulze-Hagen K, Thomas R, Moksnes A, Møller AP, Røskaft E, Soler M. 2007. Host density predicts presence of cuckoo parasitism in reed warblers. Oikos, 116(6): 913-922.
    [14] Takasu F, Moskát C. 2011. Modeling the consequence of increased host tolerance toward avian brood parasitism. Population Ecology, 53(1): 187-193.
    [15] Tian B, Zhang L, Wang X, Zhou Y, Zhang W. 2010. Forecasting the effects of sea-level rise at Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve in the Yangtze Delta, Shanghai, China. Ecological Engineering, 36(10): 1383-1388.
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    [17] Yang C, Cai Y, Liang W. 2011. Visual modeling reveals cryptic aspect in egg mimicry of Himalayan cuckoo (Cuculus saturatus) on its host Blyth's leaf warbler (Phylloscopus reguloides). Zoological Research, 32(4): 451-455.
    [18] Yang C, Antonov A, Cai Y, Stokke BG, Moksnes A, Røskaft E, Liang W. 2012. Large Hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides) parasitism on the Chinese Babax Babax lanceolatus: an evolutionarily recent host-parasite system? Ibis, 154(1): 200-204.
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Geographic variation in parasitism rates of two sympatric cuckoo hosts in China

doi: 10.11813/j.issn.0254-5853.2014.1.067

Abstract: Rates of brood parasitism vary extensively among host species and populations of a single host species. In this study, we documented and compared parasitism rates of two sympatric hosts, the Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis) and the Reed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis heudei), in three populations in China. We found that the Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) is the only parasite using both the Oriental Reed Warbler and Reed Parrotbill as hosts, with a parasitism rate of 22.4%-34.3% and 0%-4.6%, respectively. The multiple parasitism rates were positively correlated with local parasitism rates across three geographic populations of Oriental Reed Warbler, which implies that higher pressure of parasitism lead to higher multiple parasitism rate. Furthermore, only one phenotype of cuckoo eggs was found in the nests of these two host species. Our results lead to two conclusions: (1) The Oriental Reed Warbler should be considered the major host of Common Cuckoo in our study sites; and (2) obligate parasitism on Oriental Reed Warbler by Common Cuckoo is specialized but flexible to some extent, i.e., using Reed Parrotbill as a secondary host. Further studies focusing on egg recognition and rejection behaviour of these two host species should be conducted to test our predictions.

Can-Chao YANG, Dong-Lai LI, Long-Wu WANG, Guo-Xian LIANG, Zheng-Wang ZHANG, Wei LIANG. Geographic variation in parasitism rates of two sympatric cuckoo hosts in China. Zoological Research, 2014, 35(1): 67-71. doi: 10.11813/j.issn.0254-5853.2014.1.067
Citation: Can-Chao YANG, Dong-Lai LI, Long-Wu WANG, Guo-Xian LIANG, Zheng-Wang ZHANG, Wei LIANG. Geographic variation in parasitism rates of two sympatric cuckoo hosts in China. Zoological Research, 2014, 35(1): 67-71. doi: 10.11813/j.issn.0254-5853.2014.1.067
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