Apr 2, 2015

Complex interactions within the ectoparasite community of the eastern rock sengi (Elephantulus myurus)

International Journal for Parasitology. Parasites and Wildlife
Heike LutermannNigel C Bennett

Abstract

Concomitant infection with more than one parasite species is the rule in nature. Since co-infecting parasites are exploiting the same host, interspecific interactions at the infracommunity level are likely. The nature of such interactions can be expected to affect the distribution of parasites within host populations. Intraspecific interactions within the infracommunity are not easily discernible from cross-sectional studies and the focus of most of these studies lies on relationships between endoparasitic micro- and macroparasites. In the current study of the ectoparasite community of wild eastern rock sengis (Elephantulus myurus) we experimentally reduced tick and flea infestations and monitored ectoparasite burdens over the course of three years. We found a number of within-taxon facilitating interactions between tick species that might be the result of decreasing immune responses with increasing tick burden. In contrast, inter-taxon relationships appeared to be dominated by antagonistic relationships likely to be linked to competition over feeding sites. Only one of the observed interspecific interactions was reciprocal. Our experimental manipulation revealed additional antagonistic relationships that cross-sectional studie...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Study
Immune Response
Fluctuation
Immune System
Testosterone Measurement
Mites
Flea Infestation
Ectozoic parasite
Attachment Sites, Microbiological
Nymph

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