Investigations on Philornis downsi Dodge and Aitken (Diptera: Muscidae) in Trinidad: a Parasite of the Darwin Finches

Stefanie White, Raymond Martinez, Andrew G. Parker, John B.R. Agard, Dave D. Chadee


The larvae of Philornis downsi (Diptera: Muscidae) are external haematophagous parasites of nestling birds. It is an invasive fly to the Galapagos Islands that poses a threat to several endemic bird species. Preliminary investigations were conducted in Trinidad on suitable hosts from which to source Philornis for laboratory rearing and with which to conduct field studies on P. downsi within its natural range. Bird nests were collected from 13 locations around Trinidad and all examined for parasitism by Philornis species. The most abundant Philornis species by far was P. trinitensis. Several common birds from residential and agricultural areas were found to be hosts of P. downsi including the Carib Grackle, Greater Kiskadee, Tropical Mockingbird, House Wren and Palm Tanager. Of these the House Wren, Troglodytes aedon and Carib Grackle, Quiscalus lugubris appear to be most suited for field studies and collection.

Key words (not in title): laboratory rearing, host range, parasitoids, House Wren, Carib Grackle.

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