Host-finding behaviour of the rabbit flea, Spilopsyllus cuniculi with special reference to the significance of urine as an attractant
ABSTRACT The attractants are contained in urine and not in faeces, and are not restricted to the urine of rabbits or even of lagomorphs. Strong attraction was obtained towards hare and rat urines, and a low degree of attraction towards dog and human urine. Concentrated homogenates of rabbit anal glands gave low attraction.(Received January 01 1970)(Revised April 22 1970)
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ABSTRACT: We compared the responses of two fleas, Xenopsylla dipodilli and Parapulex chephrenis simultaneously exposed to the odours of their rodent hosts, Gerbillus dasyurus (specific host ofX. dipodilli ) and Acomys cahirinus (specific host of P. chephrenis). We hypothesized that fleas are able to discriminate between host species by using an odour cue and predicted that X. dipodilli andP. chephrenis would select an odour of an appropriate host species. Xenopsylla dipodilli choseG. dasyurus significantly more often than A. cahirinus, whereas P. chephrenis choseA. cahirinus significantly more often than G. dasyurus. The ability to select an appropriate host species did not differ significantly either between flea species or between individuals of different sex or age classes within flea species. No X. dipodilli, but 67 of 150 P. chephrenis, refused to choose a host. The latency to move in an experimental maze was significantly shorter for X. dipodilli than P. chephrenis. The flea species also differed in the time taken from the beginning of the movement to the choice of a host, withX. dipodilli being faster than P. chephrenis. Neither flea sex nor age affected this parameter in either species. Females of both flea species produced significantly more eggs when they fed on their specific host than when they fed on the other host species. Copyright 2002 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.Animal Behaviour 01/2002; · 3.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Obligatory haematophagy is the end result of long standing interspecific associations. Present day specificities to host, blood meal and physiological stage of the host are all offshoots of the primitive interspecific associations. The cause/effect relationship of these dependencies and specificities are probably based on the route through which haematophagy evolved in different groups of insects. In the present analysis, flea-host association is taken into consideration. It is possible to find an array of host relationships ranging from promiscuous and catholic host associations to strict ones. In general 3 categories may be recognized. In fleas likeXenopsylla cheopis a utilizable protein in an optimum concentration gives the necessary stimuli for maturation (Cheopis-type), while in a second group the stimuli is provided by certain circulating hormones of the host (Cuniculi-type) as seen in rabbit fleaSpitopsyllus cunicuti and in a third grnup (Monositus-type) a priming period characterized by tissue fluid feeding and neosomy is necessary before whole blood diet can stimulate maturation as exemplified byTunga spp. It appears that vertebrate associations of Siphonaptera initiated as adaptations to the nest microhabitat and haematophagy and adaptations to physical/chemical factors of epidermal habitat being subsequent developments. KeywordsHaematophagy-flea-host associations-nest microhabitat-epidermal habitat96(4):349-360.
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ABSTRACT: Accelerated impregnation and maturation of the rabbit flea coincides with the spring peak litter-size of the rabbit, but its breeding performance falls off before that of the domestic host. A kairomone nestling factor, which boosts copulation, impregnation and development of fleas feeding on the newborn young, is also present in relatively feeble amounts in baby rabbit urine. This urine boosts pairing of matured (=“primed”) fleas united in tubes away from a host, but impregnation is increased only if fleas are feeding on newborn young while exposed to the urine.Undeveloped fleas matured on the pregnant doe require a transfer to another host before they will pair, whereas fleas matured on the nestlings copulate without a transfer. A variable time-lag between transfer and copulation of fleas, dependent on the “priming” qualities of the preparatory host, suggests that a chemical intermediary is involved.If the antennae of the females are coated with vaseline, the maturation of these fleas is delayed feeding on nestlings, but not on the prepartum doe. This delay is less marked during the spring acceleration than at other times of the year.The breeding of a North American species of hare flea (Cediopsyllu simplex (Baker)) parasitizing Sylvilagus floridanus (Allen) is also controlled by the sex hormones of the host.Journal of Zoology 08/2009; 170(1):87 - 137. · 2.04 Impact Factor