(2013-2017, in progress)
There is a wide variety of protozoan blood parasites that infect birds, Plasmodium spp and Haempotroteus spp being the most prevalent . These have a worldwide distribution (except Antarctica) and marked cosmopolitan trend. In South America there are few studies involving avian malaria, concordant situation with Chile, with only five studies. However, only two of these studies have identified mitochondrial DNA lineages cytb in land birds. This study aims to determine the prevalence, geographic distribution and genetic lineages of blood parasites (Plasmodium spp and Haemoproteus spp) present in wild birds on the order of Passeriformes in Chile and Argentina, and compare them with those described in South America.
For this research birds have been captured from the far north, central and southern Chile, in a total of 15 ecoregions. To assess whether the Andes has influenced the distribution of the lineages of blood parasites, samples belonging to Argentina will be analyzed. Hemoparasites detection will be done through traditional diagnostic techniques (blood smear observation optical microscope) and molecular techniques (PCR). Prevalence and confidence intervals of certain lineages for each lineage and ecoregion will be determined.
With this data it is expected to determine if the lineages of the populations of blood parasites are dependent and/or restricted to a certain range. Besides determining if they present a higher specificity for some hosts, or conversely, if the lines having greater divergence, we aim to identify if they are able to adapt to a wide range of distribution and hosts.