Differences in straggling rates between two genera of dove lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) reinforce population genetic and cophylogenetic patterns

Noah K Whiteman, Diego Santiago-Alarcon, Kevin P. Johnson, Patricia G. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations


Differences in dispersal abilities have been implicated for causing disparate evolutionary patterns between Columbicola and Physconelloides lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera). However, no study has documented straggling (when lice are found on atypical hosts) rates within these lineages. We used the fact that the Galapagos Hawk, Buteo galapagoensis (Gould) (Falconiformes) feeds on the Galapagos Dove Zenaida galapagoensis Gould (Columbiformes) within an ecologically simplified setting. The Galapagos Dove is the only typical host of Columbicola macrourae (Wilson) and Physconelloides galapagensis (Kellogg and Huwana) in Galapagos. We quantitatively sampled and found these lice on both bird species. A DNA barcoding approach confirmed that stragglers were derived from Galapagos doves. We also collected a Bovicola sp. louse, likely originating from a goat (Capra hircus). On hawks, C. macrourae was significantly more prevalent than P. galapagensis. On doves, the two lice were equally prevalent and abundant. Differences in prevalence on hawks was a function of differences in straggling rate between lice, and not a reflection of their relative representation within the dove population. This provides further evidence that differences in dispersal abilities may drive differences in the degree of cospeciation in Columbicola and Phyconelloides lice, which have become model systems in evolutionary biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1113-1119
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Cospeciation
  • DNA barcoding
  • Dove
  • Galapagos
  • Lice
  • Straggling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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