In this paper we report the observation of a rapidly developed vertebrate symbiosis involving ectoparasite cleaning by a native corvid of northern Australia, the Torresian crow Corvus orru, on a recently introduced bovid ungulate, the banteng Bos javanicus. Facultative symbioses benefiting both participants (mutualisms) between birds and mammals appear to be rare, despite the apparent advantages obtained by the participants (ecto‐parasite removal from the host and food provision to the cleaner). On three separate dates we observed a total of four C. orru individuals eliciting facilitation behaviours by a total of ten female banteng to assist in the removal of ectoparasites. Our observations document the first‐known incidence of facultative cleaning behaviour by a native bird species on a non‐native, wild vertebrate that has developed in approximately 150 years since the banteng's introduction to Australia.
|Number of pages||3|
|Journal||Journal of Avian Biology|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2006|