Colpocephalum californici Price & Beer

California Condor Louse (Colpocephalum californici)

The California Condor Louse was a feather parasite of the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus(Shaw)) that was actually harmless to its host.

The California Condor went extinct in the wild, when in the 1980s all remining individuals were brought into captivity for a breeding program with the intention to save the species from complete extinction. All birds were treated with a pesticide to kill their lice and other possible parasites (actually for no good reason since these parasitic species evolved together with – and usually did no harm to their hosts), this led to the complete extinction of this louse species.

It is possible that the Californian Condors, which now are roaming their home land as free birds again, will sooner or later be affected by new, generalist parasitic louse species that then in fact could cause worse health impacts on them.


edited: 23.04.2022