Patterns in the distribution and directional asymmetry of fleas living on the northern white-breasted hedgehog Erinaceus roumanicus

Krzysztof Dudek, G. Földvári, Viktória Majláthová, Igor Majláth, Krisztina Rigó, Viktor Molnár, Mária Tóth, Lukasz Jankowiak, Piotr Tryjanowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Fleas infecting northern white-breasted hedgehogs, Erinaceus roumanicus (Barrett-Hamilton), collected from 2009-2011 in Budapest (Hungary) were studied. A total of 305 white-breasted hedgehogs were captured and 1,251 fleas were collected. The flea community comprised two species, the hedgehog flea Archaeopsylla erinacei (Bouche, 1835) and the dog flea Ctenocephalides canis (Curtis, 1826), although the latter was only found on three hedgehogs. Fleas were found on half of the host specimens (51%; n = 156) where their distribution was strongly aggregated. The sex ratio of A. erinacei was biased towards females and was correlated with host size. Interestingly, the sex ratio of fleas became more equal on heavier hosts. It had been expected that, under high competition, the sex ratio would be female biased because it is known that female ectoparasites dominate on poorer hosts. The body size of a random sample of 200 fleas (100 female and 100 male) was measured under a microscope. The analyses showed directional asymmetry in two features - the distance between the top of the head and the eye, and head length. In this two body traits the left side was significantly greater than right side in both sexes of A. erinacei. Our data shed light on the complex nature of the flea population infecting northern white-breasted hedgehogs in an urban area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number026
JournalFolia Parasitologica
Volume64
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017

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Keywords

  • Archaeopsylla erinacei
  • Co-infection
  • Morphometrics
  • Parasite morphology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology

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