Intra- and interspecific similarity in species composition of helminth communities in two closely-related rodents from South Africa.

Abstract

To reveal factors responsible for spatial variation in parasite community composition we studied patterns of similarity in helminth species composition in two closely-related rodents (Rhabdomys pumilio and Rhabdomys dilectus) that differ in their social and spatial behaviour and live under different environmental conditions across 20 localities in South Africa. We asked whether the two hosts harbour similar assemblages, whether these are more dissimilar between than within hosts and if host social structure, behaviour or environment affects similarity patterns in helminth infracommunities within and among localities. We also investigated whether similarity in species composition of helminth component communities decreases with an increase of geographic distance between host populations. We found that the pattern of space use by the hosts rather than their social behaviour promotes differences in helminth species composition between host species as well as among host populations from different localities. The rate of distance decay of similarity in species composition of helminth component communities differed between the two hosts due to difference in the degree of environmental variation across their geographic ranges. We conclude that patterns of spatial variation in helminth species composition are driven mainly by host spatial behaviour and, to a lesser extent, by environment-associated factors.

DOI: 10.1017/S003118201700049X

Cite this paper

@article{Spickett2017IntraAI, title={Intra- and interspecific similarity in species composition of helminth communities in two closely-related rodents from South Africa.}, author={Andrea Spickett and Kerstin Junker and Boris R Krasnov and Voitto Haukisalmi and Sonja Matthee}, journal={Parasitology}, year={2017}, volume={144 9}, pages={1211-1220} }