Folia Parasitologica, vol. 64 (2017)

Folia Parasitologica 64:026 (2017) | DOI: 10.14411/fp.2017.026

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

Krzysztof Dudek1, Gábor Földvári2, Viktória Majláthová3, Igor Majláth4, Krisztina Rigó2, Viktor Molnár5, Mária Tóth6, Łukasz Jankowiak7, Piotr Tryjanowski1
1 Institute of Zoology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Poznań, Poland;
2 Department of Parasitology and Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Budapest, Hungary;
3 Institute of Parasitology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Koąice, Slovakia;
4 Institute of Biology and Ecology, University of P. J. ©afárik in Koąice, Koąice, Slovakia;
5 Hannover Zoo, Hannover, Germany;
6 Department of Zoology, Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest, Hungary;
7 Department of Vertebrate Zoology and Anthropology, Institute for Research on Biodiversity, University of Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland

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.

Keywords: morphometrics, Archaeopsylla erinacei, parasite morphology, co-infection

Received: February 7, 2017; Accepted: June 23, 2017; Published online: August 4, 2017


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