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)
"Helminths of fish are acquired mainly via ingestion of an infected prey item, whereas fleas attach actively to the external surfaces of their host. Fleas use various cues to find their hosts including vibration, increased concentration of CO 2 , increased temperature, light (Benton and Lee, 1965; Cox et al., 1999; Humphries, 1968) as well as host odour (Crum et al., 1974; Vaughan and Mead-Briggs, 1970). Moreover, fleas appeared to be able to distinguish between different host species using an odour cue (Krasnov et al., 2002). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Opportunistic parasite species, capable of exploiting several different host species, do not achieve the same abundance on all these hosts. Parasites achieve maximum abundance on their principal host species, and lower abundances on their auxiliary host species. Taxonomic relatedness between the principal and auxiliary host species may determine what abundance a parasite can achieve on its auxiliary hosts, as relatedness should reflect similarities among host species in ecological, physiological and/or immunological characters. We tested this hypothesis with fleas (Siphonaptera) parasitic on small Holarctic mammals. We determined whether the abundance of a flea in its auxiliary hosts decreases with increasing taxonomic distance of these hosts from the principal host. Using data on 106 flea species from 23 regions, for a total of 194 flea-locality combinations, we found consistent support for this relationship, both within and across regions, and even after controlling for the potentially confounding effect of flea phylogeny. These results are most likely explained by a decrease in the efficiency of the parasite's evasive mechanisms against the host's behavioural and immune defences with increasing taxonomic distance from the principal host. Our findings suggest that host switching over evolutionary time may be severely constrained by the coupling of parasite success with the relatedness between new hosts and the original host.
International Journal for Parasitology 11/2004; 34(11):1289-97. DOI:10.1016/j.ijpara.2004.08.003 · 3.87 Impact Factor
"For example, the role of host odour in host preference behaviour of fleas is unclear and the results of experiments on the role of host odour as a cue for host finding are contradictory. Although some studies have found positive responses of fleas to host odour (Vaughan & Mead-Briggs 1970; Crum et al. 1974), others have not (Bates 1962; Cox et al. 1999). In addition, it is unclear whether and how fleas are able to distinguish between host species. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] 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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] 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 habitat
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