Published: Jan. 16, 2023

brown-capped rosy finchCongrats to Angela and Colleagues for their article recently accepted to the journal Parasites and Vectors. The article titled “Survey of Haemosporidian Parasite Infections in an Endangered High Alpine Bird,” is an exploration of haemosporidian parasites that infect Brown-capped Rosy Finches. The Brown-capped Rosy Finch is a nearly endemic species to the Colorado Rocky Mountains and, up until this point, we did not know whether these birds exhibit parasite infections in the high alpine environments that they are known to inhabit. Haemosporidian parasites are a type of blood parasite that is transmitted by biting insects such as black flies, midges, and mosquitoes. Using genetic data from the parasite’s mitochondria, Angela and colleagues found eight different haemosporidian lineages that infect Brown-capped Rosy Finches! While the effects of these parasites on Brown-capped Rosy Finch survival and reproductive success are still unknown, one thing is for certain–– high alpine environments are not devoid of parasites!  This work was conducted in collaboration with Dr. Garth Spellman from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.