Folia Parasitologica 61 581-588 (2014) | DOI: 10.14411/fp.2014.060
We studied variations in the abundance of parasitic spinturnicid mites in relation to the gender, age and body condition of bats living in different habitats. Populations of Spinturnix myoti Kolenati, 1856 (Acari: Spinturnicidae), an ectoparasite of the bat Myotis myotis (Borkhausen) (Mammalia: Chiroptera), were investigated in two types of roosts differing in microclimatic conditions: caves (low temperature and high humidity) and attics (high temperature and low humidity). Our data suggest that bats from cave nursery colonies harbour more parasites than those from attic colonies, irrespective of host sex or age. In underground colonies, adult females and their young differ in the mean abundance of parasites, whereas no such differences were found in attic colonies. Non-lactating females from underground roosts and lactating females from attic colonies had similar parasite loads, were lower than those of adult lactating females from caves. A negative correlation between the host body condition index and parasite load was found only in the most infected sex/age group of bats. In spite of significant differences in parasite load, the mean abundance of particular life stages of mites seems to be independent of the type of roost occupied by the host, its sex or age. However, in attic colonies the number of female deutonymphs was twice that of male deutonymphs, whereas in cave colonies the proportions of the sexes were similar. We suggest that the microclimate of the host's roosts may influence ectoparasite abundance through pressure on the sex ratio in the nymphal stages of mites.
Received: October 27, 2013; Accepted: June 18, 2014; Prepublished online: October 15, 2014; Published: December 4, 2014