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Another parasite in Portugal!

Updated: Apr 19

All birds can have parasites, but birds that nest in colonies, such as many swallows and swifts, are more likely to live with this type of animal.

While some of these parasites are highly specialised in certain groups or even species of birds, others are generalists, such as Cimex hirundinis. This haematophagous insect parasitises more than 20 different species of birds, from swallows and swifts to lapwings, sparrows, starlings and woodpeckers.

A specimen of this species was discovered at the beginning of winter inside a residential building, in a room whose only window is located a few metres from a swallow's nest (Delichon urbicum). This record in Laborim de Baixo, Vila Nova de Gaia, confirms the literature on this parasite, which is known to hibernate in birds' nests and can sometimes enter houses.

This discovery by the Curator of Entomology at the Museum of Natural History and Science at the University of Porto, José Manuel Grosso-Silva, considerably extends the known distribution area of this species to the Iberian Peninsula.

Although parasites are common in birds, most of them pose no risk to human health. These animals are essential for biological diversity and the maintenance of natural ecosystems.


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