Supplementary files of the manuscript "Avian malaria on Madagascar: prevalence, biodiversity and specialization of haemosporidian parasites" by S. Musa, U. Mackenstedt, F. Woog and A. Dinkel published in International Journal for Parasitology
Supplementary files of Avian malaria on Madagascar: prevalence, biodiversity and specialization of haemosporidian parasites Abstract: Previous studies about geographic patterns of species diversity of avian haemosporidian parasites did not include the avian biodiversity hotspot Madagascar. Since there are only few data available on avian malaria parasites on Madagascar we conducted the first large-scale molecular based study to investigate their biodiversity. 1,067 samples of 55 bird species were examined by a PCR method amplifying nearly the whole haemosporidian cytochrome b gene (1,063 bp). The parasite lineages found were further characterized phylogenetically and additionally the degree of specialization was determined with a newly introduced "Host-diversity" index (Hd). Our results demonstrate that Madagascar indeed represents a biodiversity hotspot for avian haemosporidian parasites as we detected 88 genetically distinct parasite lineages. Furthermore, by using a phylogenetic approach and including the sequence divergence we were able to assign the lineages to 29 groups i.e. supposed species. The here presented Hd-values for each parasite regarding host species, genus and family strongly support previous works demonstrating the elastic host ranges of some avian Haemosporida. In general, Plasmodium and Leucocytozoon species seem to be generalists whereas Haemoproteus species might be considered specialists. However, as demonstrated in various examples, single parasite species or lineages can deviate from this rule and should be examined individually.