Ectoparasite fleas of cottontail rabbits and black-tailed prairie dogs inhabiting the high plains of West Texas

M. A. Nascarella, C. M. Bradford, T. H. Burns, E. J. Marsland, C. M. Pepper, S. M. Presley

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1 Scopus citations

Abstract

A survey of fleas parasitizing prairie dogs, Cynomys ludovicianus, and cottontail rabbits, Sylvilagus spp., was conducted from August 2003 to January 2004 in Lubbock, Texas. This study involved the sampling of fleas from active prairie dog burrows as well as the capture of other small mammals inhabiting prairie dog towns. Of the 174 active burrows that were sampled, only five yielded fleas. The sampled rabbits had a mean number of 7.9 (SEM 1.32) fleas each (range of zero to 30), while the prairie dogs had a minimum of one and a maximum of 22 fleas each, with the average prairie dog having a flea burden of 6.9 (SEM 1.52). Identification of the fleas revealed three species: Oropsylla hirsuta Baker (formerly Opisocrostis hirsutus), Pulex spp., and Euhoplopsyllus glacialis Taschenburg. The majority of fleas (99%) parasitizing the rabbits were E. glacialis. The majority of fleas (74%) on prairie dogs were Pulex spp., with the remaining fleas O. hirsuta. All of the fleas collected from within prairie dog burrows were identified as O. hirsuta.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-243
Number of pages5
JournalSouthwestern Entomologist
Volume30
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005

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    Nascarella, M. A., Bradford, C. M., Burns, T. H., Marsland, E. J., Pepper, C. M., & Presley, S. M. (2005). Ectoparasite fleas of cottontail rabbits and black-tailed prairie dogs inhabiting the high plains of West Texas. Southwestern Entomologist, 30(4), 239-243.