Occurrence of fleas (Siphonaptera) and lice (Phthiraptera) on Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) on the Faroes Islands

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2015
Authors:J. - K. Jensen, Magnussen E.
Journal:Norwegian Journal of Entomology.
Date Published:2 December 2015
Keywords:abundance., Brown rat, Ctenophthalmus nobilis, Faroe Islands, fleas, lice, Nosopsyllus fasciatus, Occurrence, Polyplax spinulosa, Rattus norvegicus, Siphonaptera

During the years 2012 and 2013, 61 brown rats (Rattus norvegicus Berkenhout, 1769) were collected from 10 locations on the Faroe Islands and investigated for ectoparasites. Two species of fleas, Nosopsyllus fasciatus Bosc d’Antic, 1800 and Ctenophthalmus nobilis Rothschild, 1898 , and one species of louse, Polyplax spinulosa Burmeister, 1839, were found. Of these, the fleas were the more frequent, found on 34% of the rats, whereas the occurrence of the single species of louse was only 3%. Of the fleas, N. fasciatus was the most common, found on 18 of the 23 the rats infected by fleas (78%), whereas the occurrence of C. nobilis was 48%. Both C.nobilis and P. spinulosa are new species for the fauna of the Faroe Islands; whereas N. fasciatus has been reported once before, then on a domestic cat (Felis catus Linnaeus, 1758). The finding of C. nobilis is both the most westerly and northerly finding of this species in Europe.

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