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Ectoparasites of small-mammals: determinants of community structure in South American savannah

  • J. SPONCHIADO (a1) (a2), G. L. MELO (a2) (a3), T. F. MARTINS (a4), F. S. KRAWCZAK (a4), F. C. JACINAVICIUS (a5), M. B. LABRUNA (a4), D. M. BARROS-BATTESTI (a5) and N. C. CÁCERES (a2)...

Summary

This study aimed to assess the contribution of hosts characteristics (rodents and marsupials) in the organization of ectoparasite communities present in woodland patches in western central Brazil. We verified the effect of host species, sex, body mass and vertical strata in addition to the role of seasonality on the ectoparasite composition, richness and abundance. The total sampling effort was 22 032 trap-nights equally distributed in 54 woodland patches. Variance partition and principal coordinate analysis were used to verify the existence of significant relationships between response variables and predictors. As expected, host species was the most important variable in ectoparasite community assembly. The composition, richness and abundance of mites and lice were highly influenced by host species, although higher for mites than for lice. Host body mass had a determining role on the richness and abundance of tick species. Vertical stratification and seasonality had weak influence, while the sex of the host had no influence on the organization of these communities. The results are closely related to the evolutionary characteristics of the species involved, as well as with local environmental characteristics of the study area.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade Animal, CCNE, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Av. Roraima 1000, Santa Maria, RS, 97110-970, Brazil. E-mail: jsponchiado@yahoo.com.br

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Ectoparasites of small-mammals: determinants of community structure in South American savannah

  • J. SPONCHIADO (a1) (a2), G. L. MELO (a2) (a3), T. F. MARTINS (a4), F. S. KRAWCZAK (a4), F. C. JACINAVICIUS (a5), M. B. LABRUNA (a4), D. M. BARROS-BATTESTI (a5) and N. C. CÁCERES (a2)...

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