Behavioral, genetic, and immune variation within a host population may lead to aggregation of parasites whereby a small proportion of hosts harbor a majority of parasites. In situations where two or more parasite species infect the same host population there is the potential for interaction among parasites that could potentially influence patterns of aggregation through either competition or facilitation. We studied the occurrence and abundance patterns of two congeneric flea species on black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) hosts to test for interactions among parasite species. We live-trapped prairie dogs on ten sites in Boulder County, CO and collected their fleas. We found a non-random, positive association between the two flea species, Oropsylla hirsuta and O. tuberculata cynomuris; hosts with high loads of one flea species had high loads of the second species. This result suggests that there is no interspecific competition among fleas on prairie dog hosts. Host weight had a weak negative relationship to flea load and host sex did not influence flea load, though there were slight differences in flea prevalence and abundance between male and female C. ludovicianus. While genetic and behavioral variation among hosts may predispose certain individuals to infection, our results indicate apparent facilitation among flea species that may result from immune suppression or other flea-mediated factors.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.