Fragmented host distribution and trombiculid parasitic load: Eutrombicula araucanensis and Liolaemus pictus in Chile
2015 - Volume: 55 Issue: 2 pages: 209-217
Habitat fragmentation produced by human impacts can generate changes in the distribution and abundance of populations across their geographic ranges. The chigger mites are ectoparasites that are widely distributed on a wide range of species. The distribution depends of the characteristics of the host and of the habitat where said species is found. As the host distribution is highly dependent on environmental factors, chigger mites are good study models to test geographical distribution patterns. The main objective of this study was to determine variation in abundance of Eutrombicula araucanensis, parasite on Liolaemus pictus, by testing three hypotheses: abundant centre hypothesis, abundance optimum hypothesis and latitudinal distribution pattern. For this purpose, mites from 147 individuals from 23 localities along the distribution of L. pictus were extracted. The three distribution models evaluated in the present study were not adequate to represent the geographical structure of parasitic mites on L. pictus. No association between the distance from the area of greatest species abundance and relative intensity, or association with the distance to the mite’s distribution centre was observed. In addition, no latitudinal distribution pattern was observed. Temperate forest fragmentation may influence the population density of mites, with each forest patch having different optimal conditions for development. The heterogeneity makes it difficult to find a clear distribution pattern.
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