Host-ectoparasite associations; the role of host traits, season and habitat on parasitism interactions of the rodents of northeastern Iran

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2021
Authors:K. Hamidi, Bueno-Marí R.
Journal:Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology
Date Published:Apr-01-2021
Keywords:Host choice, infestation rate, Parasitic relationship, Prevalence, rodentia, Zoonotic diseases

Attached pdf is a preprint version, The printed version can be obtain from publisher -

Preprint link


•    New insights were given on host-ectoparasite associations in northeastern Iran.

•    Nosopsyllus fasciatus and Polyplax asiatica were dominant flea and louse on rodents.
•    Nosopsyllus fasciatus exhibits low and Polyplax asiatica moderate host specificity.

•    Haemaphysalis punctata and Haemolaelaps sp. were the most abundant tick and mite.
•    Seasonal fluctuations were found in the occurrence of ectoparasite on rodents.

Rodents play a significant role as reservoirs of zoonotic diseases. Nevertheless, in general their ectoparasite assemblage and host-ectoparasite associations are poorly known. This study intended to provide new insights into the relationships between ectoparasites and rodents in northeastern Iran. Rodents were captured using live traps during the years 2016–2020, and their ectoparasites were collected. Parasitological indices such as infestation rate, prevalence and mean intensity of infestation were analyzed. A total of 284 rodents, belonging to 17 species, were trapped and found to be infested by 178 ectoparasites from five orders Siphonaptera, Phthiraptera, Ixodida, Mesostigmata and Trombidiformes. The overall infestation rate was 50.3%. The flea Nosopsyllus fasciatus and the louse Polyplax asiatica dominated among all fleas and lice, respectively. Haemaphysalis punctata and Haemolaelaps sp. were recorded as the most abundant tick and mite, respectively. Nosopsyllus fasciatus exhibited low and Polyplax asiatica moderate host specificity. Approximately 64.2% of ectoparasites shared more than one host, and others were singletons. Seasonal fluctuations were found in the occurrence of ectoparasite; fleas and lice were more abundant in spring and winter, respectively. Ticks demonstrated high abundance in spring and summer and mites were more common in autumn. The overall prevalence of ectoparasite on male rodents was greater than that on females (56.4% vs. 44.4%), while similar mean intensities were detected for both sexes. This study extends the knowledge on the distribution, seasonality and host choice of four main groups of ectoparasites in association with rodents. Further studies are needed to provide deep insight into how relationships and interactions between ectoparasite and rodents are formed, and how they can be applied in epidemiology.

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