Interactions between the avian parasite, Philornis downsi (Diptera: Muscidae) and the Galapagos Flycatcher, Myiarchus magnirostris Gould (Passeriformes: Tyrannidae).
An incidental observation of the fly Philornis downsi parasitizing a Galapagos Flycatcher (Myiarchus magnirostris) nest has revealed new insights into the searching behavior and biology of this invasive fly parasite and its interactions with endemic landbirds in the Galapagos Islands. Observations suggest that P. downsi relies on olfactory cues, or olfactory cues combined with the activity of adult birds, to locate nests and that flies continue to visit nests when chicks are >3 d old. At least 200 eggs were laid by P. downsi in different parts of the nest and >40 early-instar larvae were found inside the head of one chick, with additional larvae found in the base of the nest. Parasitism was the likely cause of mortality of both chicks found in or near the nest. This description of P. downsi parasitizing chicks of M. magnirostris highlights the vulnerability of this endemic bird species to this invasive fly.