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1 June 2001 Seasonal Studies on Commensal Rats and Their Ectoparasites in a Rural Area of Egypt: The Relationship of Ectoparasites to the Species, Locality, and Relative Abundance of the Host
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Abstract

The present study was carried out in 3 villages, namely Kafr Ayoub Soliman, Kafr Ibrahim El-Aidi, and El-Sa'adat, Sharqiya Governorate, Egypt. A total of 519 rats was collected from the 3 study sites: 46.6% Rattus rattus, and 53.4% Rattus norvegicus. A total of 20,643 ectoparasites was recovered from R. rattus: 33.3% mites, 33.8% fleas, and 32.9% lice. From R. norvegicus a total of 40,997 ectoparasites was recovered: 28.9% mites, 31% fleas, and 40.1% lice. Three common mite species were recovered from both rat hosts, i.e., Ornithonyssus bacoti, Radfordia ensifera, and Laelaps nuttalli. Three common flea species were also recovered from both rat hosts, i.e., Echidnophaga gallinacea, Leptopsylla segnis, and Xenopsylla cheopis. Polyplax spinulosa was the only dominant louse species that infested both rat hosts. Rats did not show a definite breeding season, and the seasonal rat indices were generally low in different study sites. There were no significant differences between the prevalence of each of mites, fleas, and lice in both rat species. The total general indices of mites and fleas, on the other hand, was significantly higher in R. norvegicus. The general index of X. cheopis was high and ranged between 5.9 in R. rattus and 14.5 in R. norvegicus. Season-related changes were observed in the general index of each of L. segnis infesting both rat species and R. ensifera and O. bacoti infesting R. norvegicus. The prevalence and general indices of some ectoparasites showed differences related to the locality of their rat hosts. Seasonal changes in the general indices of some ectoparasites paralleled seasonal changes in the relative abundance of their rat hosts.

SOHAIL SOLIMAN, ANDREW J. MAIN, ALEYA S. MARZOUK, and ASHRAF A. MONTASSER "Seasonal Studies on Commensal Rats and Their Ectoparasites in a Rural Area of Egypt: The Relationship of Ectoparasites to the Species, Locality, and Relative Abundance of the Host," Journal of Parasitology 87(3), (1 June 2001). https://doi.org/10.1645/0022-3395(2001)087[0545:SSOCRA]2.0.CO;2
Received: 6 July 2000; Accepted: 1 October 2000; Published: 1 June 2001
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