Differential species-specific ectoparasitic mite intensities in two intimately coexisting sibling bat species: resource-mediated host attractiveness or parasite specialization?

Details

Serval ID
serval:BIB_143B81913D4D
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Differential species-specific ectoparasitic mite intensities in two intimately coexisting sibling bat species: resource-mediated host attractiveness or parasite specialization?
Journal
Journal of Animal Ecology
Author(s)
Christe P., Giorgi M. S., Vogel P., Arlettaz R.
ISSN
0021-8790
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2003
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
72
Number
5
Pages
866-872
Language
english
Abstract
1. The mechanisms underlying host choice strategies by parasites remain poorly understood. We address two main questions: (i) do parasites prefer vulnerable or well-fed hosts, and (ii) to what extent is a parasite species specialized towards a given host species?
2. To answer these questions, we investigated, both in the field and in the lab, a host-parasite system comprising one ectoparasitic mite (Spinturnix myoti) and its major hosts, two sibling species of bats (Myotis myotis and M blythii), which coexist intimately in colonial nursery roosts. We exploited the close physical associations between host species in colonial roosts as well as naturally occurring annual variation in food abundance to investigate the relationships between parasite intensities and (i) host species and (ii) individual nutritional status.
3. Although horizontal transmission of parasites was facilitated by the intimate aggregation of bats within their colonial clusters, we found significant interspecific differences in degree of infestation throughout the 6 years of the study, with M. myotis always more heavily parasitized than M. blythii. This pattern was replicated in a laboratory experiment in which any species-specific resistance induced by exploitation of different trophic niches in nature was removed.
4. Within both host species, S. myoti showed a clear preference for individuals with higher nutritional status. In years with high resource abundance, both bat hosts harboured more parasites than in low-resource years, although the relative difference in parasite burden across species was maintained. This pattern of host choice was also replicated in the laboratory. When offered a choice, parasites always colonized better-fed individuals.
5. These results show first that host specialization in our study system occurred. Second, immediate parasite choice clearly operated towards the selection of hosts in good nutritional state.
Keywords
host specificity, host-parasite coevolution, Melolontha melolontha, Myotis myotis, Myotis blythii
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Create date
24/01/2008 19:14
Last modification date
20/08/2019 12:42
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