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1 January 2008 Habitat-Associated Differences in Flea Assemblages of Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis)
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Mammalian carnivores may be important to the dynamics of many vector-borne zoonotic diseases, yet relationships between carnivores and their ectoparasites are largely unstudied. I sampled striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) in Boulder County, Colorado, U.S.A., to determine how prevalence, abundance, and species assemblages of fleas vary by habitat association. I found that skunks sampled from foothills habitats carry significantly richer flea species assemblages than those sampled in grassland habitats, though flea prevalence, abundance, and mean intensity did not differ statistically between habitat types. Skunks in both habitat types were most commonly parasitized by fleas of the genus Pulex. Skunks from foothills habitats were also found to carry fleas typically associated with rodents, including Oropsylla montana, Anomiopsyllus nudatus, and Orchopeas neotomae, whereas skunks sampled in grassland habitats did not carry rodent fleas. Given that striped skunks may be involved in maintenance and transmission of several flea-borne diseases, it is important to understand how the flea species assemblages of striped skunks vary depending on habitat association.

R. Jory Brinkerhoff "Habitat-Associated Differences in Flea Assemblages of Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis)," Comparative Parasitology 75(1), 127-131, (1 January 2008).
Published: 1 January 2008

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