Aug 21, 2013

Life history strategy influences parasite responses to habitat fragmentation

International Journal for Parasitology
Götz FroeschkeSonja Matthee

Abstract

Anthropogenic habitat use is a major threat to biodiversity and is known to increase the abundance of generalist host species such as rodents, which are regarded as potential disease carriers. Parasites have an intimate relationship with their host and the surrounding environment and it is expected that habitat fragmentation will affect parasite infestation levels. We investigated the effect of habitat fragmentation on the ecto- and endoparasitic burdens of a broad niche small mammal, Rhabdomys pumilio, in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Our aim was to look at the effects of fragmentation on different parasite species with diverse life history characteristics and to determine whether general patterns can be found. Sampling took place within pristine lowland (Fynbos/Renosterveld) areas and at fragmented sites surrounded and isolated by agricultural activities. All arthropod ectoparasites and available gastrointestinal endoparasites were identified. We used conditional autoregressive models to investigate the effects of habitat fragmentation on parasite species richness and abundance of all recovered parasites. Host density and body size were larger in the fragments. Combined ecto- as well as combined endoparasite taxa s...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Rhinophylla pumilio
Abnormal Fragmented Structure
Ectozoic parasite
Rhipicephalus pumilio
Internal parasite
Disease Transmission
Biodiversity
TRIM33 gene
Murinae
Fragments

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