Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Infestation of thornbird nests (Passeriformes: Furnariidae) by Psammolestes tertius (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) across Brazilian Cerrado and Caatinga ecoregions

Gurgel-Gonçalves, RodrigoAugusto Cuba Cuba, César

Psammolestes tertius Lent & Jurberg, 1965 is a sylvatic triatomine bug species that occurs in thornbird nests in Brazil. We studied infestation of 527 nests of Phacellodomus rufifrons Wied, 1821 and Phacellodomus ruber Vieillot, 1817 by P. tertius in eight Brazilian states across the Cerrado and Caatinga ecoregions. Psammolestes tertius occurred in 44% of the nests, mainly in those of P. ruber. Overall, 3,261 specimens (52% nymphs) were captured, with an average of 14 bugs per infested nest (range 1-75). While P. tertius occurrence and age structure (percentage of nymphs) were similar in Cerrado and Caatinga nests, infestation intensity (bugs/infested nest) was higher in the Cerrado. Last-stage nymphs and adults were predominant in P. tertius populations from both P. ruber and P. rufifrons nests. The results indicate that Phacellodomus nests are favourable habitats for P. tertius in the open/dry ecoregions of Brazil. The percentage of adult P. tertius specimens (48%) was higher than that observed in other triatomine species (usually less than 5% under either experimental or natural conditions), suggesting that adult bugs tend to remain in thornbird nests. The stable blood supply provided by resident/breeding birds would favor steady P. tertius infestation of thornbird nests across Brazilian Cerrado and Caatinga ecoregions.

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