1 June 2017 Ecology of Rodent—Ectoparasite Associations in South-Central Kentucky
Matthew J. Buchholz, Carl W. Dick
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Abstract

The goal of this study was to elucidate the host—ectoparasite associations of small-mammal communities in south-central Kentucky. Specifically we sought to determine whether host species, sex, and age as well as site or season affected the infestation of small mammals by parasitic arthropods. We captured small mammals from November 2014 to October 2015 using live traps in three 200 m × 50 m trapping grids within Western Kentucky University's Green River Preserve. We identified captured small mammals to species and recorded standard measurements. Ectoparasites were removed and retained for identification. We collected 9 species of ectoparasites, including 3 ixodid ticks, 5 species of Siphonaptera, and 1 mesostigmatid mite, from 7 species of small mammals and calculated prevalence and mean intensity for each host—parasite association. Infestation rates of ectoparasites were generally low, but were affected by age and sex of the host, site, and season in different parasite taxa. We posit several natural- and life-history characteristics of hosts and parasites that likely contribute to the observed effects. The findings presented here provide an inventory of small-mammal and ectoparasite species in south-central Kentucky as well as insight into the dynamics of host—ectoparasite associations in the southeastern United States.

Matthew J. Buchholz and Carl W. Dick "Ecology of Rodent—Ectoparasite Associations in South-Central Kentucky," Northeastern Naturalist 24(2), 97-109, (1 June 2017). https://doi.org/10.1656/045.024.0201
Published: 1 June 2017
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