Avian Haemosporidians, Host-Parasite Associations


2011-2014, MSc, Beijing Normal University, China

2014-2018, PhD, Lund University, Sweden

2019-present, Lecturer, Beijing Normal University, China


Research Interests

My research interests mainly focus on the associations between avian haemosporidian parasites and their hosts, particularly the evolution of host specificity. Why some parasites can infect multiple host species while others were restricted to few has been a long-standing question to parasitologists and evolutionary ecologists. To explore this issue, I use molecular methods on avian haemosporidians detected in natural communities to understand their current infection patterns and possible evolutionary history. Meanwhile, I’m also interested in investigating the genetic patterns between parasites infecting different host species, which is important for understanding disease evolution.


Selected Publications

♦ Research Articles

1. Huang, X.*, Jönsson, J., & Bensch, S. (2020) Persistence of avian haemosporidians in the wild: a case study to illustrate seasonal infection patterns in relation to host life stages. International Journal for Parasitology, 50(8), 611-619.

2. Huang, X., Huang, D., Liang, Y., Zhang, L.,Yang, G., Liu, B., Peng, Y., Deng, W.*, Dong, L.* (2020). A new protocol for absolute quantification of haemosporidian parasites in raptors and comparison with current assays. Parasites & vectors, 13(1), 354. 

3. Huang, X.*, Rapševičius, P. Chapa-Vargas, L., Hellgren, O. & Bensch, S (2019). Within lineage divergence of avian haemosporidians: a case study to reveal the origin of a wide-spread Haemoproteus parasite.  The Journal of Parasitology , 105 (3), 414-422.

4. Huang, X.*, Ellis, VA., Jönsson, J., & Bensch, S. (2018). Generalist haemosporidian parasites are better adapted to a subset of host species in a multiple host community. Molecular Ecology , 27 (21), 4336-4346

5. Huang, X*., Hansson, R., Palinauskas, V., Valkiūnas, G., Hellgren, O., & Bensch, S. (2018). The success of sequence capture in relation to phylogenetic distance from a reference genome: a case study of avian haemosporidian parasites. International Journal for Parasitology , 48(12), 947-954.

6. Huang, X., Dong, L.*, Zhang, C., & Zhang, Y. (2015). Genetic diversity, temporal dynamics, and host specificity in blood parasites of passerines in north China.  Parasitology research ,  114 (12), 4513-4520.

7. Jia, T.#, Huang, X.#, Valkiūnas G., Yang, M., Zheng, C., Pu, T., Zhang, Y., Dong, L., Suo, X., & Zhang, C., (2018). Malaria parasites and related haemosporidians cause mortality in cranes: a study on the parasites diversity, prevalence and distribution in Beijing Zoo. Malaria Journal , 17(1), 234.

8. Barrow, LN.*, Allen, JM., Huang, X., Bensch, S., & Witt, CC. (2019). Genomic sequence capture of haemosporidian parasites: Methods and prospects for enhanced study of host‐parasite evolution. Molecular Ecology Resources , 19(2), 400-410.

9. Ishtiaq, F., Rao, M., Huang, X., & Bensch, S. (2017). Estimating prevalence of avian haemosporidians in natural populations: a comparative study on screening protocols.  Parasites & vectors , 10(1), 127.

10. Nilsson, E., Taubert, H., Hellgren, O., Huang, X., Palinauskas, V., Markovets, M.Y., Valkiūnas, G. & Bensch, S.,( 2016). Multiple cryptic species of sympatric generalists within the avian blood parasite Haemoproteus majoris . Journal of evolutionary biology , 29(9), 1812-1826.

11. Dong, L., Wei, M., Alström, P., Huang, X., Olsson, U., Shigeta, Y., Zhang, Y., & Zheng, G. (2015). Taxonomy of the Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina complex: an integrative approach using morphological, bioacoustic and multilocus DNA data.  Ibis , 157(2), 312-325.


Contact Information

College of Life Sciences,

Beijing Normal University,

Beijing 100875,

P. R. China

Tel. : +86-10-58805852

E-mail: xi.huang@bnu.edu.cn