Dispersal in patchy environments: effect on the prevalence of small mammal ectoparasites.Folia Parasitol (Praha). 1987; 34(4):357-67.FP
Part-time ectoparasites on small mammals disperse via the habitat, while full-time parasites spread throughout the host population by direct contacts between host animals. It is therefore supposed that the effect of the natural environment is different for the two groups. This was studied as differences between observed and expected prevalence, the percentage of the infested host population, during different environmental conditions. Two possible mechanisms of such an effect were analysed, i.e. a) host selection and its change with host frequency and b) parasite migration and reproduction rates as reflected by the frequency distribution patterns on the hosts. As expected the prevalence of full-time ectoparasites (Anoplura and subfamily Laelapinae) could be predicted on the basis of host species frequencies during different environmental conditions, with the exception of one louse species (Hoplopleura acanthopus), because of its restricted distribution. Prediction was not possible for part-time ectoparasites (subfamily Hameogamasinae). Species of the subfamily Haemogamasinae were more catholic in host selection than species of Anoplura and subfamily Laelapinae. The haemogamasin mites changed host species to a greater extent than did Anoplura and Laelapinae. All haemogamasin mites had short-tailed frequency distribution patterns and all Anoplura and Laelapinae, except Hyperlaelaps microti, had long-tailed frequency distributions.