Fecundity of Hoplopleura scapteromydis (Phthiraptera: Anoplura, Hoplopleuridae), ectoparasite of Scapteromys aquaticus (Rodentia: Muridae) in Río de la Plata Marshlands, Argentina

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:G. G. Liljesthröm, Lareschi M.
Journal:Journal of Parasitology
Pagination:542 - 544
Date Published:2001

Density and age structure of lice collected from captured Scapteromys aquaticus rodents were studied to estimate the fecundity of Hoplopleura scapteromydis. The number of eggs with a visible embryo inside (E), nymphs (N), adult males (AM), and adult females (AF) were recorded for each rodent. For the ith rodent, the fecundity of H. scapteromydis, F(i), was estimated as F(i) 5 {[E(i) 1 N(i)]/2}/AF(i)/T, where T represents the period of preimaginal development (unknown and arbitrarily considered as T 5 1), and the sex ratio of the preimaginal stages was supposed to be 1:1. In order to look for density-dependent effects, F(i) was plotted against AM(i), this being an independent estimation of infrapopulation density. The number of rodents suitable for AF and AM calculations was 38 (57% of the parasitized animals). Almost 95% had a low-to-moderate louse burden (1 < AM < 30) and were captured every season, whereas only 3% had a heavy (61 < AM < 70, captured in winter) or very heavy (AM > 80, captured in summer) louse burden. The extreme values of F were 0.63 and 18 (1.3 and 36 if both sexes were considered). High-to-moderate F-values (F > 5) were estimated in only 5 rodents that exhibited low louse density, whereas low F-values (F < 5) were found at all louse densities. Notwithstanding the tendency toward an inverse relationship between fecundity and infrapopulation density, the correlation was not significantly different from 0.

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