Article: article from journal or magazin.
Flea infestation reduces the life span of the common vole.
Publication types: Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't - Publication Status: ppublish
Parasitism is often a source of variation in host's fitness components. Understanding and estimating its relative importance for fitness components of hosts is fundamental from physiological, ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Host-parasite studies have often reported parasite-induced reduction of host fecundity, whereas the effect of parasitism on host survival has been largely neglected. Here, we experimentally investigated the effect of infestation by rat fleas (Nosopsyllus fasciatus) on the life span of wild-derived male common voles (Microtus arvalis) bred in captivity. We found that the mean life span of parasitized voles was reduced by 36% compared to control voles. Parasitized voles had a smaller body size, but a relatively larger heart and spleen than control voles. These results indicate an effect of flea infestation on host life span and our findings strongly suggest that ectoparasites should be taken into account in the studies of host population dynamics.
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