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A Chilean Mockingbird (Mimus thenca), the primary vector for transmission of mistletoe (Tristerix aphyllus) to host plants in Chile.

The Chilean Mockingbird (Mimus thenca) serves as the primary vector for transmission of mistletoe (Tristerix aphyllus) to its cactus host (Echinopsis chilensis) in Chile. A small proportion of the cactus population is parasitized by the mistletoe, and the behaviors of mockingbirds and the physical defenses of the cacti both contribute to the concentration of the parasitic mistletoe on those plants. Plants with longer spines are visited less frequently by the mockingbirds and are less likely to receive mistletoe seeds. In turn, plants parasitized by mistletoe are more frequently visited by mockingbirds, and mistletoe becomes aggregated on a subset of the cactus population. This photograph originally appeared on the cover of Ecology (85:1) in January of 2004.
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Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords vector, transmit, parasite, host, host-parasite dynamic, defense
Key taxa Chilean mockingbird, Mimus thenca
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description This photograph can be used to illustrate parasitism, host-parasite dynamics, mockingbirds, or as an example of a vector.
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Departmento de Ciencias Ecologicas, Universidad de Chile

Biology Program, Wilkes University
Primary Author email,
Rights Copyright 2004 by the Ecological Society of America.
Date Of Record Submission 2008-03-31

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