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Distribution and density of oxpeckers on giraffes in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Oxpeckers (Buphagus sp.) are two bird species closely associated to large mammals, including giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis). We tested whether oxpeckers distributed themselves at random across individuals or aggregated on individual giraffes, and whether birds select the host’s body parts with the expected greatest amount of ticks. By counting oxpeckers on giraffe’s body from photographs, we quantified the distribution of birds per hosts and over predefined zones on the giraffe body. Oxpeckers displayed a strong aggregation behaviour with few hosts carrying

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Characterising African tick communities at a wild-domestic interface using repeated sampling protocols and models

The sharing of habitat by wild and domestic animals may result in pathogen transmission, notably via ectoparasite vectors such as ticks. Interfaces between protected and communal lands constitute sharp transitions between areas occupied by host communities that are extremely contrasted in terms of composition, diversity and density. Empirical characterizations of tick communities and of their vertebrate hosts are strongly relevant for understanding the mechanisms leading to disease transmission between wild and domestic animals. In the present study we aimed at

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