The role of host traits, season and group size on parasite burdens in a cooperative mammal

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dc.contributor.author Viljoen, Hermien
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.contributor.author Ueckermann, Edward A.
dc.contributor.author Lutermann, Heike
dc.date.accessioned 2011-11-28T07:40:13Z
dc.date.available 2011-11-28T07:40:13Z
dc.date.issued 2011-11-01
dc.description.abstract The distribution of parasites among hosts is often characterised by a high degree of heterogeneity with a small number of hosts harbouring the majority of parasites. Such patterns of aggregation have been linked to variation in host exposure and susceptibility as well as parasite traits and environmental factors. Host exposure and susceptibility may differ with sexes, reproductive effort and group size. Furthermore, environmental factors may affect both the host and parasite directly and contribute to temporal heterogeneities in parasite loads. We investigated the contributions of host and parasite traits as well as season on parasite loads in highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae). This cooperative breeder exhibits a reproductive division of labour and animals live in colonies of varying sizes that procreate seasonally. Mole-rats were parasitised by lice, mites, cestodes and nematodes with mites (Androlaelaps sp.) and cestodes (Mathevotaenia sp.) being the dominant ecto- and endoparasites, respectively. Sex and reproductive status contributed little to the observed parasite prevalence and abundances possibly as a result of the shared burrow system. Clear seasonal patterns of parasite prevalence and abundance emerged with peaks in summer for mites and in winter for cestodes. Group size correlated negatively with mite abundance while it had no effect on cestode burdens and group membership affected infestation with both parasites. We propose that the mode of transmission as well as social factors constrain parasite propagation generating parasite patterns deviating from those commonly predicted. en
dc.description.librarian ab2012 en
dc.description.sponsorship This project was funded by the DST-NRF (Department of Science and Technology - National Research Foundation) South African Research Chair for Behavioural Ecology and Physiology to NC Bennett. en
dc.description.uri http://www.plosone.org en
dc.identifier.citation Viljoen H, Bennett NC, Ueckermann EA, Lutermann H (2011) The Role of Host Traits, Season and Group Size on Parasite Burdens in a Cooperative Mammal. PLoS ONE 6(11): e27003. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027003 en
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.other 10.1371/journal.pone.0027003
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/17666
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en
dc.rights © 2011 Viljoen et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. en
dc.subject Gastrointestinal parasites en
dc.subject Parasite burdens en
dc.subject Host exposure and susceptibility en
dc.subject Season on parasite loads en
dc.subject Host and parasite traits en
dc.subject Highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae) en
dc.subject.lcsh Mammals en
dc.subject.lcsh Parasites en
dc.subject.lcsh Veterinary parasitology en
dc.title The role of host traits, season and group size on parasite burdens in a cooperative mammal en
dc.type Article en


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