P1.150 Wednesday, Jan. 4 Chronic Mite Infestation and its Effects on Nest Success, Immunity and Development in European Starling Nestlings EISNER PRYOR, Leah/J*; CASTO, Joseph/M; Illinois State University firstname.lastname@example.org
We experimentally assessed the effects of chronic haematophagous mite infestation on nest success, egg spottiness, growth, and immune function in European Starling nestlings. We did this by spraying half the nests with the common agricultural insecticide permethrin to reduce ectoparasite number and inoculating the other half of the nests with approximately 200 adult northern fowl mites during incubation. We measured innate immunity by performing bactericidal assays on days 10 and 15 post hatch. We analyzed cell mediated immunity by measuring lymphocyte proliferation in response to lipopolysaccharide and concanavalin A at 17 days post hatch and we measured wing length, tarsus length, and mass to assess growth. We found a significant effect of mite infestation on nest success. Significantly more nests failed before hatch in the mite-enhanced group. We also found a significant treatment effect on egg spottiness. Post-treatment, eggs in mite-enhanced nests were significantly more spotted than eggs in permethrin treated nests. There was no effect of treatment on growth. We found a significant effect of mite load on innate immunity. Nestling bactericidal ability was significantly lower in mite-enhanced nests at day 10 but significantly higher at day 15. We also found a significant effect of day on innate immunity, in that nestlings on day 15 had significantly higher bactericidal ability than nestlings on day 10 in both treatment groups. We found no effect of treatment on lymphocyte proliferation. Further comparison to lymphocyte proliferation in adult starlings should allow us to determine whether nestlings have generally reduced proliferative ability or are capable of producing adult-like proliferation in response to the mitogens tested.