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Additional File 2: Overview of literature search methods
Parasite spread at the domestic animal - wildlife interface: anthropogenic habitat use,
phylogeny and body mass drive risk of cat and dog flea (Ctenocephalides spp.) infestation in
wild mammals
Nicholas J Clark1*, Jennifer Seddon1, Jan Šlapeta2 and Konstans Wells3
1School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland, Gatton Queensland 4343, Australia
2Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Sydney New South
Wales 2006, Australia
3Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith University, Nathan Queensland 4111, Australia
Author email addresses:
J. Seddon:
J. Šlapeta:
K. Wells:
This file presents an overview of the methods used to search literature and scrape flea*host
checklists. R code for performing the systematic search and scraping online checklists can be found
on figshare (
Step 1: Gathering abstracts to search for flea infestations of wildlife around the globe, using
PubMed (searching with the ‘rentrez’ R package)
1. Terms: “((cat flea OR ctenocephalides) AND (rodent OR rat OR murine))”
2. Terms: “((cat flea OR ctenocephalides) AND (wildlife OR wild OR free-roaming OR free
3. Terms: “((cat flea OR ctenocephalides) AND (bird OR avian OR chicken))”
4. Terms: “((cat flea OR ctenocephalides) AND (rabbit OR fox OR deer OR goat OR pig OR
bear OR livestock OR cattle OR ruminant OR feral))”
Total: 245 papers
Step 2: Keeping or discarding collected papers by title and abstract
We manually examined titles and abstracts of all papers, keeping those that examine wild animals,
free-roaming feral animals (including farm animals and ‘domestic’ animals in villages such as
Borneo and Laos). We discarded papers that only examine house-kept domestic pets, humans or that
were laboratory-based, or that only focused on non-Ctenocephalides (either canis or felis) fleas.
New Total: 122 papers
Step 3: Repeat searches in Web of Science and compare to the Pubmed list
We searched Web of Science using identical terms in ‘topic’ field, downloading results as a tab-
delimited text file then importing into R to compare to the specified PubMed list (based on PubMed
identification, title and abstract) to find unique records.
New Total: 506 papers
Step 5: Repeat manual screening on the new subset of papers
New Total: 181 papers
Step 6: Check for additional records from checklists and informative websites (search
references and citations of checklists)
Step 7: Search the Global Mammalian Parasite Database v2.0 (Stephens et al. 2017) and
British Natural History Museum flea collection (
distribution/database/ for any additional host-parasite records
Methods for gathering lists of mammal species sampled for flea infestations
1) Included all host species in the Global Mammal Parasite Database that have been recorded to
harbour arthropod ectoparasites (assuming that these host species were searched for any external
arthropod parasites)
2) Included all host species from published flea host-parasite community datasets (Hadfield et al.
2013 from Palearctic regions; Pilosof et al. 2017 from Serbia)
3) Scraped all species binomial names from all pages of the online checklist of flea*host interactions
in South Africa (Segerman)
4) Manually copied and parsed text for all host binomials from flea host*parasite checklists from the
USA (New Mexico,Tennessee and South Carolina), Canada (THE FLEAS OF CANADA, ALASKA
AND GREENLAND (SIPHONAPTERA)), Australia (A Monograph of Australian Fleas
(Siphonaptera); CSIRO) and Britain (Handbook of British Fleas (
5) Searched all collected binomials and other texts that could represent mammalian hosts (i.e. ‘C.
lupus’ or text parsing errors such as ‘Canis lumus’) using pattern matching against IUCN taxonomy
(function tax_name in the taxize package). Kept all species binomials that are found to belong to
class Mammalia
6) For remaining text that doesn't match to a record in IUCN (including many errors in text parsing),
used incomplete pattern matching against mammalian IUCN taxonomy (function agrep with
max.distance = 0.15). Returned all possible matches and then manually selected the most likely
Stephens PR, Pappalardo P, Huang S, Byers JE, Farrell MJ, Gehman A, et al. Global Mammal
Parasite Database version 2.0. Ecology. 2017;98(5):1476-1476.
Hadfield JD, Krasnov BR, Poulin R, Nakagawa S. A tale of two phylogenies: comparative analyses
of ecological interactions. Am Nat. 2013;183(2):174-187.
Pilosof S, Fortuna MA, Vinarski MV, KoralloVinarskaya NP, Krasnov BR. Temporal dynamics of
direct reciprocal and indirect effects in a host-parasite network. J Anim Ecol. 2013;82(5):987-996.

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