Feb 3, 2016

Evidence for interspecific interactions in the ectoparasite infracommunity of a wild mammal

Parasites & Vectors
Sasha HoffmannHeike Lutermann

Abstract

Co-infection with multiple parasite species is commonly observed in nature and interspecific interactions are likely to occur in parasite infracommunities. Such interactions may affect the distribution of parasites among hosts but also the response of infracommunities to perturbations. However, the response of infracommunities to perturbations has not been well studied experimentally for ectoparasite communities of small mammal hosts. In the current study we used experimental perturbations of the ectoparasite infracommunity of sengis from Africa. We suppressed tick recruitment by applying an acaride and monitored the effects on the ectoparasite community. Our treatment affected the target as well as two non-target species directly. The experimental removal of the dominant tick (Rhipicephalus spp.) resulted in increases in the abundance of chiggers and lice. However, while these effects were short-lived in chiggers, which are questing from the environment, they were long-lasting for lice which spend their entire life-cycle on the host. In addition, the recruitment rates of some ectoparasite species were high and did not always correspond to total burdens observed. These findings indicate that infracommunity interactions may cont...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Study
Biological Community
Ectozoic parasite
Lice
Coinfection
Lice Infestations
Environment
Secondary Infections
Chiggers
Shrews

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