Indian blue peafowl help regulate the numbers of venomous snakes, abundant lizards, and insects to maintain a stable ecosystem. Peafowl are a carrier of lice and microorganisms. In one study, Pavo cristatus was found to be a host for two louse species, Goniodes pavonis and Amyrisdea minuta. Because males and females only come together to mate and there is no parental care by the father, louse distribution is largely continued from the mother to the offspring. The father can still pass on the lice secondarily by infecting the mother, who then passes the lice to the peachicks. Females avoid this situation by picking the favored males because those mates most likely have the best parasite resistance and are less likely to pass on any parasites during copulation. In another study of captive peafowl at three different zoos, scientists tested the birds for the presence of harmful microorganisms. All three zoos had peafowl that carried Bordetella avium, Mycoplasma synoviae, Clostridium perfringens, and Escherichia coli. Bordetella avium and Mycoplasma synoviae are contagious and can be passed on to other species, but do not result in high mortality rates. Clostridium perfringens is a helpful bacteria for the digestive system of birds and is opportunistic, only becoming harmful under certain circumstances (like if the immune system is compromised by some other illness).
- Intestinal bacteria Clostridium perfringens
- Hollamby, S., J. Sikarskie, J. Stuht. 2003. Survey of peafowl (Pavo cristatus) for potential pathogens at three Michigan zoos. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 34/4: 375-379.
- Moller, A., P. Christe, E. Lux. 1999. Parsitism, host immune function, and sexual selection. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 74/1: 3-20.
- Stewart, I., F. Clark, M. Petrie. 1996. Distribution of chewing lice upon the polygynous peacock Pavo cristatus. The Journal of Parasitology, 82/2: 370-372.
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