Folia Parasitologica 64:031 (2017) | 10.14411/fp.2017.031
Haemadipsid leeches are among the most successful terrestrial invertebrates in Bornean rainforests. They are very common ectoparasites of vertebrates, and their abundance has facilitated the conduction of numerous projects in the fields of ecology, zoogeography and taxonomy. We undertook research on two species inhabiting lowland dipterocarp forest, Haemadipsa picta Moore, 1929 and Haemadipsa subagilis (Moore, 1929), in order to address the following questions: (a) is there a difference in leech abundance between trails and off-trails?; (b) is ambush location dependent on specimen size or is species-specific?; (c) is intra- and interspecific competition limited by differences in foraging behaviours or vertical niche partitioning? Our results clearly show that H. picta is more abundant on trails than on off-trails and is vertically dispersed within the understory; the size of a specimen is strongly correlated with plant height. Haemadipsa subagilis was found not to exhibit such patterns. We suggest a possible lowering of interspecific competition between these species as a result of: (i) size-dependent dispersion of H. picta (together with reduction of intraspecific competition); and (ii) habitat specialisation of H. subagilis. Moreover, we provide new observations on their foraging behaviour.
Received: February 1, 2017; Accepted: August 18, 2017; Published online: October 3, 2017