Establishment of exotic parasites: the origins and characteristics of an avian malaria community in an isolated island avifauna.
Knowledge of the processes favouring the establishment of exotic parasites is poor. Herein, we test the characteristics of successful exotic parasites that have co-established in the remote island archipelago of New Zealand, due to the introduction of numerous avian host species. Our results show that avian malaria parasites (AM; parasites of the genus Plasmodium) that successfully invaded are more globally generalist (both geographically widespread and with a broad taxonomic range of hosts) than AM parasites not co-introduced to New Zealand. Furthermore, the successful AM parasites are presently more prevalent in their native range than AM parasites found in the same native range but not co-introduced to New Zealand. This has resulted in an increased number and greater taxonomic diversity of AM parasites now in New Zealand.