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Flyway homogenisation or differentiation? Insights from the phylogeny of the sandpiper (Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae: Calidrinae) wing louse genus Lunaceps (Phthiraptera: Ischnocera).

Journal article
Authors Daniel Gustafsson
Urban Olsson
Published in International Journal of Parasitology
Volume 42
Issue 1
Pages 93-102
ISSN 0020-7519
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 93-102
Language en
Subject categories Biological Sciences


The wing louse genus Lunaceps, is the most speciose chewing louse (Phthiraptera) genus inhabiting sandpipers (Charadriiformes: Calidrinae) and is known from almost all sandpiper species. The hosts follow specific flyways from the Arctic breeding grounds to wintering locations in the southern hemisphere, and often form large mixed-species flocks during migration and wintering. We estimated a phylogeny of Lunaceps based on three mitochondrial loci, supporting monophyly of the genus but revealing extensive paraphyly at the species level. We also evaluated the relative importance of flyway differentiation (same host species having different lice along different flyways) and flyway homogenisation (different host species having the same lice along the same flyway). We found that while the lice of smaller sandpipers and stints show some evidence of flyway homogenisation, those of larger sandpipers do not. No investigated host species migrating along more than one flyway showed any evidence of flyway differentiation. The host–parasite associations within Lunaceps are in no case monophyletic, rejecting strict cospeciation.

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