Skip to main content Accessibility help

The effects of seasonality on host–bat fly ecological networks in a temperate mountain cave



Changes in the specialization of parasite–host interactions will be influenced by variations in host species composition. We evaluated this hypothesis by comparing the composition of bats and bat flies within a roost cave over one annual. Five bat and five bat fly species occupied the cave over the course of the study. Bat species composition was 40% different in the rainy season compared with the dry–cold and dry–warm seasons. Despite the incorporation of three new bat species into the cave during the rainy season, bat fly species composition was not affected by seasonality, since the bats that arrived in the rainy season only contributed one new bat fly species at a low prevalence. Bat–bat fly ecological networks were less specialized in the rainy season compared with the dry–cold and dry–warm seasons because of the increase of host overlap among bat fly species during this season. This study suggests that seasonality promote: (1) differences in host species composition, and (2) a reduction in the specialization of host–parasite ecological networks.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro No. 8701, Col. Ex-Hacienda de San José de La Huerta, C.P. 58190, Morelia Michoacán, México. Email:;


Hide All
Barclay, R. M. R. (1991). Population structure of temperate zone insectivorous bats in relation to foraging behaviour and energy demand. Journal of Animal Ecology 60, 165178.
Bauer, S. and Hoye, B. J. (2014). Migratory animals couple biodiversity and ecosystem functioning worldwide. Science 344, 12425521242552.
Blüthgen, N. (2010). Why network analysis is often disconnected from community ecology: a critique and an ecologist's guide. Basic and Applied Ecology 11, 185195.
Blüthgen, N. and Klein, A.-M. (2011). Functional complementarity and specialisation: the role of biodiversity in plant–pollinator interactions. Basic and Applied Ecology 12, 282291.
Brito, S. V., Corso, G., Almeida, A. M., Ferreira, F. S., Almeida, W. O., Anjos, L. A., Mesquita, D. O. and Vasconcellos, A. (2014). Phylogeny and micro-habitats utilized by lizards determine the composition of their endoparasites in the semiarid Caatinga of Northeast Brazil. Parasitology Research 113, 39633972.
Carranza, E. (2007). Familia Convolvulaceae. Flora del Bajío y Regiones Adyacentes 151, 1131.
Clark, B. K., Clark, B. S. and Leslie, D. M. (1997). Seasonal variation in use of caves by the endangered Ozark Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii ingens) in Oklahoma. The American Midland Naturalist 137, 388392.
Dick, C. W. and Miller, J. A. (2010). Streblidae (Bat Flies). In Manual of Central American Diptera, Vol 2 (ed. Brown, B. V., Borkent, A., Cumming, J. M., Wood, D. M., Woodley, N. E. and Zumbado, M. A.), pp. 12491260. NCR Research Press, Ottawa, Canada.
Dick, C. W. and Patterson, B. D. (2006). Bat flies: obligate ectoparasites of bats. In Micromammals and Macroparasites (ed. Morand, S., Krasnov, B. R. and Poulin, R.), pp. 179194. Springer Japan, Tokyo.
Dick, C. W., Esbérard, C. E. L., Graciolli, G., Bergallo, H. G. and Gettinger, D. (2009). Assessing host specificity of obligate ectoparasites in the absence of dispersal barriers. Parasitology Research 105, 13451349.
Dittmar, K., Dick, C. W., Patterson, B. D., Whiring, M. F. and Gruwell, M. E. (2009). Pupal deposition and ecology of bat flies (Diptera: Streblidae): Trichobius sp. (caecus group) in a Mexican cave habitat. Journal of Parasitology 95, 308314.
Dormann, C. F., Gruber, B. and Fründ, J. (2008). Introducing the bipartite package: analysing ecological networks. R News 8, 811.
Fagir, D. M., Horak, I. G., Ueckermann, E. A., Bennett, N. C. and Lutermann, H. (2015). Ectoparasite diversity in the eastern rock sengis (Elephantulus myurus): the effect of seasonality and host sex. African Zoology 50, 109117.
Ferreyra-García, D. (2016). Efecto del microclima en la ocupación de refugios cavernícolas por murciélagos. Thesis. Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Morelia, Mexico, 66 p.
Fontaine, C., Guimarães, P. R. Jr., Kéfi, S., Loeuille, N., Memmott, J., van der Putten, W. H., van Veen, F. J. F. and Thébault, E. (2011). The ecological and evolutionary implications of merging different types of networks. Ecology Letters 14, 11701181.
Guerrero, R. (1995). Catálogo de los Streblidae (Diptera: Pupipara) parásitos de murciélagos (Mammalia: Chiroptera) del Nuevo Mundo. III. Los grupos: Dugesii, Dunni y Phyllostomae del género Trichobius Gervais, 1844. Acta Biológica Venezuelica 15, 127.
Herbers, J. M. (1985). Seasonal structuring of a north temperature ant community. Insectes Sociaux 32, 224240.
INEGI (2009) Prontuario de Información Geográfica Municipal de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Michoacán de Ocampo, Morelia, Clave geoestadística 16053.
Kunz, T. H. (1982). Ecology of Bats. Plenum Publishing Corporation, New York.
Lareschi, M. and Krasnov, B. R. (2010). Determinants of ectoparasite assemblage structure on rodent hosts from South American marshlands: the effect of host species, locality and season. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 24, 284292.
Legendre, P. and Legendre, L. F. J. (2012). Numerical Ecology. 3rd English Edition. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Lumbad, A. S., Vredevoe, L. K. and Taylor, E. N. (2011). Season and sex of host affect intensities of ectoparasites in Western Fence Lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) on the Central Coast of California. The Southwestern Naturalist 56, 369377.
Lundberg, J. and McFarlane, D. A. (2015). Microclimate and niche constructionism in tropical bat caves: a case study from Mount Elgon, Kenya. In Caves and Karst Across Time (ed. Feinberg, J., Gao, Y. and Alexander, E. C. J.), pp. 119. Geological Society of America, Boulder, Colorado.
Medellín, R., Arita, H. and Sánchez, O. (2008). Identificación de los murciélagos de México, 2nd Edn. Instituto de Ecología-UNAM & CONABIO, México, d.f.
Mello, M. A. R. (2009). Temporal variation in the organization of a Neotropical assemblage of leaf-nosed bats (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae). Acta Oecologica 35, 280286.
Mysterud, A., Qviller, L., Meisingset, E. L. and Viljugrein, H. (2016). Parasite load and seasonal migration in red deer. Oecologia 180, 401407.
Obame-Nkoghe, J., Rahola, N., Bourgarel, M., Yangari, P., Prugnolle, F., Maganga, G. D., Leroy, E.-M., Fontenille, D., Ayala, D. and Paupy, C. (2016). Bat flies (Diptera: Nycteribiidae and Streblidae) infesting cave-dwelling bats in Gabon: diversity, dynamics and potential role in Polychromophilus melanipherus transmission. Parasites & Vectors 9, 1.
Oksanen, J., Blanchet, F. G., Kindt, R., Legendre, P., Minchin, P. R., OHara, R. B., Gavin, L., Simpson, P. S. M., Stevens, M. H. H. and Wagner, H. (2013). Vegan. 2nd Edn. R project.
Pianka, E. R. (1973). The structure of lizard communities. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 4, 5374.
Pinheiro, F., Diniz, I. R., Coelho, D. and Bandeira, M. P. S. (2002). Seasonal pattern of insect abundance in the Brazilian cerrado. Austral Ecology 27, 132136.
R Core Team Development (2012). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.
Ritzi, C. M., Ammerman, L. K., Dixon, M. T. and Richerson, J. V. (2001). Bat ectoparasites from the Trans-Pecos Region of Texas, including notes from Big Bend National Park. Journal of Medical Entomology 38, 400404.
Rojas, D., Vale, Á., Ferrero, V. and Navarro, L. (2011). When did plants become important to leaf-nosed bats? Diversification of feeding habits in the family Phyllostomidae. Molecular Ecology 20, 22172228.
Rzedowski, J. (2006). Vegetación de México. Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO), Ciudad de México.
Segura-Trujillo, C. A. and Lidicker, W. Z. (2016). New perspectives on trophic guilds of arthropodivorous bats in North and Central America. Journal of Mammalogy 97, 644654.
Sosa, V. J., Hernández-Salazar, E., Hernández-Conrique, D. and Castro-Luna, A. A. (2008). Murciélagos. In Agroecosistemas cafetaleros de Veracruz: Biodiversidad, manejo y conservación (ed. Manson, R. H., Hernández-Ortiz, V., Gallina, S. and Mehltrter, K.), pp. 181192. Instituto Nacional de Ecología & Instituto de Ecología A.C., Xalapa.
Stoner, K. E. (2005). Phyllostomid bat community structure and abundance in two contrasting tropical dry forests. Biotropica 37, 591599.
Stoner, K. E., O-Salazar, K. A., R-Fernández, R. C. and Quesada, M. (2003). Population dynamics, reproduction, and diet of the lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae) in Jalisco, Mexico: implications for conservation. Biodiversity and Conservation 12, 357373.
Tlapaya-Romero, L., Horváth, A., Gallina-Tessaro, S., Naranjo, E. and Gómez, B. (2015). Prevalencia y abundancia de moscas parásitas asociadas a una comunidad de murciélagos cavernícolas en La Trinitaria, Chiapas, México. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad 86, 377385.
Torres-Flores, J. W., López-Wilchis, R. and Soto-Castruita, A. (2012). Dinámica poblacional, selección de sitios de percha y patrones reproductivos de algunos murciélagos cavernícolas en el oeste de México. Revista de Biología Tropical 60, 13691389.
Wenzel, R. L. (1976). The Streblid bat flies of Venezuela (Diptera: Streblidae). Brigham Young University Science Bulletin, Provo, Utah, USA.
Wenzel, R. L., Tipton, V. J. and Kiewlicz, A. (1966). The Streblid Batflies of Panama (Diptera: Streblidae). In Ectoparasites of Panama (ed. Wenzel, R. L. and Tipton, V. J.), pp. 405675. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, Illinois.
Wolda, H. (1988). Insect seasonality: why? Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 19, 118.
Zarazúa-Carbajal, M., Saldaña-Vázquez, R. A., Sandoval-Ruíz, C. A., Stoner, K. E. and Benítez-Malvido, J. (2016). The specificity of host–bat fly interaction networks across vegetation and seasonal variation. Parasitology Research 115, 40374044.


The effects of seasonality on host–bat fly ecological networks in a temperate mountain cave



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed