Host behaviour, age and sex correlate with ectoparasite prevalence and intensity in a colonial mammal, the little brown bat

Quinn MR Webber, Liam McGuire, Steven B Smith, Craig KR Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The influence of behaviour on host-parasite dynamics has theoretical support but few empirical studies have examined this influence for wild-captured hosts, especially in colonial species, which are thought to face generally high risk of exposure. Behavioural tendencies of hosts in novel environments could mediate host exposure. We tested the hypothesis that behavioural tendencies of hosts, and host sex and age, correlate with prevalence and intensity of ectoparasites in a gregarious mammal, the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus).We also tested whether relationships between host behaviour and parasite prevalence and intensity would vary between taxa of ectoparasites which differ in host-seeking behaviour. We predicted that individual hosts displaying active and explorative behaviours would have higher prevalence and intensity of parasites that depend on physical contact among hosts for transmission (mites) but that host behaviour would not influence prevalence and intensity of mobile
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-105
JournalBehaviour
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 24 2014

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