We used behavioral, physiological, and parasitological measures to document effects of acute malarial infections on activity budgets of experimentally infected juvenile Apapane (Himatione sanguinea). Five of eight birds died within 20 to 32 days after exposure to a single infective mosquito bite. Infected Apapane devoted less time to locomotory activities involving flight, walking or hopping, and stationary activities such as singing, preening, feeding, and probing. The amount of time spent sitting was positively correlated with parasitemia and increased dramatically after infection and between treatment and control groups. Birds that succumbed to infection experienced a significant loss of body mass and subcutaneous fat, whereas surviving Apapane were better able to maintain body condition and fat levels. When rechallenged with the parasite five months after initial infection, surviving birds experienced no increase in parasitemia, indicating that they had become immune to reinfection. Regardless of the outcome, infected birds experienced acute illness that would have left them unable to forage or to escape from predators in the wild.
Additional Publication Details
Effects of malaria (Plasmodium relicturm) on activity budgets of experimentally-infected juvenile Apapane (Himatione sanquinea)