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A correction to De Liberato et al. 2018 Neottialges (Caloenectes) vulturis (Dubinin, 1956) (Acari: Hypoderatidae) from the Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) in Italy

Camiña, Alvaro1

1✉ ACRENASL Apartado de Correos 339, 28220 Majadahonda, Spain.

2018 - Volume: 58 Issue: 4 pages: 987-988

A recent paper by De Liberato et al. (2018) describes the finding of Neottialges (Caloenectes) vulturis (Dubinin, 1956) (Acari: Hypoderatidae) in a Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). This note clarifies the accuracy of two of their assumptions.

First, De Liberato et al. (2018) assumed that the infested bird was born in Spain. However, there is no evidence supporting this assumption, even when considering the location and date of capture. The bird in question was caught in Renedo de la Vega municipality (42°27’11’’ N 04°42’09’’W), Palencia province, northern Spain on September 25th, 2008, and was released from the Los Guindales rehabilitation center (Saldaña municipality 42°31’05’’N 04°44’0’’W) after forty-one days. This vulture was then re-captured at the Riserva Naturale Monte Velino by M. Posillico (Pers. Comm.) on January 30th 2012, July 28th and August 4th 2014, demonstrating its presence in Italy. Because the bird was a fledgling when it was initially captured, it is known that this individual was born during the 2008 breeding season. In that year, the Palencia Province hosted between 76–89 breeding pairs in twelve colonies (Del Moral 2009) and it is thus possible that the bird was born in this region. However, throughout its European range, the Eurasian griffon is a partially migratory species, with most juveniles migrating into Africa during their first winter (Bernis 1981). Between fledging and the migration to Africa, there is a post-fledging dependence period during which first year vultures may travel far from their breeding colonies. This vulture could therefore have born in any of the countries where griffon populations still exist, including Portugal, Spain, France, Italy or even Croatia. Indeed, it would not the first time that griffons born in those countries and ringed as chicks reached the Iberian Peninsula. Among at least 189 griffon vultures ringed abroad and recovered in Spain, 186 were from France, two were from Croatia and one was from Italy. Of the French birds, six (3.17%) were re-sighted in Spain during August (1), September (1) and October (4), two to four months after fledging. Thus, we cannot eliminate the possibility that the mentioned vulture was born outside of Spain, and subsequently joined the Iberian population.

Second, it should also be noted that the vulture in question could have been infested in a cliff used by vultures, rather than on its nest as assumed to be the general case. Vultures roost on cliffs overnight and thus on substrates that could harbor Neottialges (Caloenectes) vulturis. Therefore, it is possible that the infection was acquired subsequent to leaving its nest.

Overall, these remarks do not negate the findings of De Liberato et al.’s study. These authors clearly demonstrate that the hypoderatid deutonymph was present far from where it was originally described and that this observation represents an extension of the known range of this mite. However, the exact location of infestation is questionable given the movements and behavior of the birds. More research is thus called for to determine the current distribution of Neottialges (Caloenectes) vulturis, for example by examining griffon vulture nestlings ringed every year in France, Spain and Croatia.


To Junta de Castilla y León, Consejería de Fomento y Medio Ambiente Dirección General del Medio Natural at Valladolid and Burgos provinces. (Olga Alarcia, Consuelo Temiño and Lorea Cardas). Caleb Gordon reviewed and improved the English version.


De Liberato C., A. Maglianoa, F. Tancredia, C. Elenia, M. Posillico, S. Mironov. 2018. Neottialges (Caloenectes) vulturis (Dubinin, 1956) (Acari:Hypoderatidae) from the Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) in Italy: first record in Europe, redescription and pathological changes in the host. Acarologia 58(2): 255-264; oibibdoi10.24349/acarologia/20184239

Del Moral, J. C. (Ed.) 2009. El buitre leonado en Palencia, Spain. In: El buitre leonado en Espa-a. Población reproductora en 2008 y método de censo SEO/BirdLife. Madrid.

Fernández, J.A., L. Fernández. 1974. Sobre sexo, mecanismos y proceso de reproducción en el buitre leonado (Gyps fulvus) Doñana, Acta Vert. 1:109-119.

Houston, D.C. 1974. Food searching in griffon vultures. E. Afr. Wildl. 12:63-77. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1974.tb00107.x

Mundy PJ, Butchart D, Ledger J, Piper SE. 1992. The Vultures of Africa. Acorn and Russel Friedman Books, Halfway House, RSA.

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McCoy, Karen

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2018 Camiña, Alvaro
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