Parasitology

Research Article

Compositional and phylogenetic dissimilarity of host communities drives dissimilarity of ectoparasite assemblages: geographical variation and scale-dependence

BORIS R. KRASNOVa1 c1, DAVID MOUILLOTa2, IRINA S. KHOKHLOVAa3, GEORGY I. SHENBROTa1 and ROBERT POULINa4

a1 Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede-Boqer Campus, 84990 Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel

a2 UMR CNRS-UM2-IRD-IFREMER 5119 ECOSYM, University of Montpellier II, CC093, FR-34095 Montpellier Cedex 5, France and ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia

a3 Wyler Department of Dryland Agriculture, French Associates Institute for Agriculture and Biotechnology of Drylands, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede-Boqer Campus, 84990 Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel

a4 Department of Zoology, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand

SUMMARY

We tested the hypothesis that compositional and/or phylogenetic dissimilarity of host assemblages affect compositional and/or phylogenetic dissimilarity of parasite assemblages, to different extents depending on scale, using regional surveys of fleas parasitic on small mammals from 4 biogeographical realms. Using phylogenetic community dissimilarity metric, we calculated the compositional and phylogenetic dissimilarity components between all pairs of host and parasite communities within realms and hemispheres. We then quantified the effect of compositional or phylogenetic dissimilarity in host regional assemblages, and geographical distance between assemblages, on the compositional or phylogenetic dissimilarity of flea regional assemblages within a realm, respectively. The compositional dissimilarity in host assemblages strongly affected compositional dissimilarity in flea assemblages within all realms and within both hemispheres. However, the effect of phylogenetic dissimilarity of host assemblages on that of flea assemblages was mostly confined to the Neotropics and Nearctic, but was detected in both the Old and New World at the higher scale, possibly because of phylogenetic heterogeneity in flea and host faunas between realms. The clearer effect of the compositional rather than the phylogenetic component of host community dissimilarity on flea community dissimilarity suggests important roles for host switching and ecological fitting during the assembly history of flea communities.

(Received September 06 2011)

(Revised October 13 2011)

(Accepted October 14 2011)

(Online publication January 05 2012)

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Sede-Boqer Campus, 84990 Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel. Tel: +972 8 6596841. Fax: +972 8 6596772. E-mail: krasnov@bgu.ac.il

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