Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Title:||Host speciﬁcity in bat ectoparasites: A natural experiment|
|Authors:||Seneviratne, Sampath S.|
Fernando, H. Chandrika
Udagama-Randeniya, Preethi V.
|Publisher:||International Journal for Parasitology|
|Abstract:||We undertook a ﬁeld study to determine patterns of specialisation of ectoparasites in cave-dwelling bats in Sri Lanka. The hypothesis tested was that strict host speciﬁcity (monoxeny) could evolve through the development of differential species preferences through association with the different host groups. Three species of cave-dwelling bats were chosen to represent a wide range of host–parasite associations (monoxeny to polyxeny), and both sympatric and allopatric roosting assemblages. Of the eight caves selected, six caves were ‘‘allopatric” roosts where two of each housed only one of the three host species examined: Rousettus leschenaulti (Pteropodidae), Rhinolophus rouxi and Hipposideros speoris (Rhinolophidae). The remaining two caves were ‘‘sympatric” roosts and housed all three host species. Thirty bats of each species were examined for ectoparasites in each cave, which resulted in a collection of nycteribiid and streblid ﬂies, an ischnopsyllid bat ﬂea, argasid and ixodid ticks, and mites belonging to three families. The host speciﬁcity of bat parasites showed a trend to monoxeny in which 70% of the 30 species reported were monoxenous. Odds ratios derived from v2-tests revealed two levels of host preferences in less-speciﬁc parasites (i) the parasite was found on two host species under conditions of both host sympatry and host allopatry, with a preference for a single host in the case of host sympatry and (ii) the preference for a single host was very high, hence under conditions of host sympatry, it was conﬁned to the preferred host only.However,underconditionsofhostallopatry, itutilizedbothhosts.Thereappearstobeanincreasing prevalence in host preferences of the parasites toward conﬁnement to a single host species. The ecological isolation of the bat hosts and a long history of host–parasite co-existence could have contributed to an overall tendency of bat ectoparasites to become specialists, here reﬂected in the high percentage of monoxeny.|
|Appears in Collections:||Department of Zoology|
Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.