Lots of lice!


I was woken up twice last night, first because Tomas wanted me to show him how I delouse some shorebird that had just been caught (they catch terns at night here, but I go to sleep instead so I can be present throughout the day when they catch more passerines), and then when someone caught a Tawny owl Strix aluco.

I looked at the following last night:
– Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola – Some Quadraceps [prob. obscurus] in the jar
– Common Tern Sterna hirundoQuadraceps [prob. sellatus] and Saemundssonia [prob. sternae], both collected manually.
– Tawny Owl Strix aluco – No lice.

The only lice I’ve ever got from an owl is Kurodaia cryptostigmatia from some Tengmalm’s Owls Aegolius funereus we caught here at Ottenby in 2007. I don’t even know where to look for the genus Strigiphilus, that is known from more or less all owl species in Sweden (I don’t have the checklist here, so I can’t check). We searched the head feathers quite thoroughly last night, and that’s where you’d predict them to be, as they are of the “head louse ecomorph”, but I’ve never seen any. Probably need to fumigate some dead owls to find them, I guess.

Today I sampled 50 birds, and Tomas samples 28. I managed to get the following:
– Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio – One individual had some Menacanthus
– Tree Sparrow Passer montanus – several individual, including all the ones Tomas fumigated, had some head louse, but without a dissection scope, we can’t tell whether these are Philopterus montani or Sturnidoecus [= Rostrinirmus] ruficeps.
– Greater Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major – One individual (the only one we caught) had two Brueelia.
– Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus – a few Degeeriella were found on the back and chest when we searched it manually, so we decided to fumigate it in a bag, and got another handful. I gave most of these to Tomas, though.

In other news, Emily reports from Umeå that she got lots of head lice today, and Heidi reports that she got lice from a Greater Spotted Woodpecker yesterday as well, and maybe from one today. I’m hoping at least some of these lice of Heidi’s are Brueelia, which is known from woodpeckers as well. I know some of the ones I’ve gt definitely are.


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