addition, the geographic distribution of extant ﬂea taxa suggests
that glaciation/post-glaciation cycles could affect ﬂea diversity in
a fashion similar to that of their hosts but independently of the
hosts’ phylogeographic processes (Medvedev, 1996).
The effect of the phylogenetic structure of the surrounding ﬂea
assemblage on that of the assemblages harboured by individual
host species was consistently positive in all species for which this
effect was found. In other words, the phylogenetic afﬁnities of the
set of ﬂea species harboured by some hosts reﬂected the availabil-
ity of certain ﬂea lineages among all ﬂeas inhabiting the locality.
Host species for which the phylogenetic structure of the across-
host assemblages was the only factor affecting the phylogenetic
structure of their local assemblages (M. arvalis and M. glareolus)
seemed thus to be random samplers of ﬂea lineages from the sur-
rounding pools. However, for other host species, the surrounding
pool of ﬂea species affected the phylogenetic structure of within-
host assemblages together with other factors.
In conclusion, our results demonstrated that the key factor
underlying spatial variation of the phylogenetic structure of the
ﬂea assemblage of a host was the distance from the centre of the
host’s geographic range. However, the pattern of this spatial varia-
tion differed between host species and might be explained by their
species-speciﬁc immunogenetic and/or distributional patterns. Lo-
cal ﬂea assemblages may also, to some extent, be shaped by envi-
ronmental ﬁltering coupled with historical events. In addition, the
phylogenetic structure of a local within-host ﬂea assemblage may
mirror the phylogenetic structure of the entire across-host ﬂea
assemblage in that locality and, thus, be affected by the availability
of certain phylogenetic lineages.
We thank Robert Poulin for helpful comments on an earlier ver-
sion of the manuscript. This study was partly supported by the Is-
rael Science Foundation (Grant No. 26/12 to B.R.K. and I.S.K.). S.P.
was supported by a fellowship from the Kreitman Foundation, (Is-
rael). This is Publication No. 803 of the Mitrani Department of Des-
ert Ecology, (Israel).
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