Avian Malaria (Plasmodium relictum) is a parasite that is known to affect birds from around the world (except Antarctica). When it was introduced to Hawaii it caused extinctions across almost all of the islands, resulting in the extinction of most of Hawaii’s endemic birds.
“Plasmodium [avian malaria] in Galapagos penguins is potentially disastrous for this species. Most penguin species are very susceptible to Plasmodium and avian malaria is a real problem in zoos, where it is a major problems in penguin exhibits.” – Bruce Hofkin, a parasitologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, who was not involved in the study. Featured on New Scientist.
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