Habitat fragmentation and parasitism of a forest damselfly
- Cite this article as:
- Taylor, P.D. & Merriam, G. Landscape Ecol (1996) 11: 181. doi:10.1007/BF02447516
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We compared populations of a forest damselfly —Calopteryx maculata — in two kinds of landscapes. In fragmented landscapes, forested foraging patches were separated from streams (where oviposition and mating occur) by up to 500 m of pasture. In non-fragmented landscapes, there was continuous forest cover adjacent to streams. The prevalence and intensity of midgut infections of a gregarine parasite were significantly lower in the fragmented landscapes than in the non-fragmented landscapes. We have shown elsewhere that in the fragmented landscapes, damselflies move over greater areas to forage than in the non-fragmented landscapes. We postulate that these movements lower the rate of encounter between damselflies and oocysts, thus lowering the prevalence and intensity of infection. The differences suggest that actual habitat fragmentation events would alter the relationship between host and parasite, but that populations of both species would persist after fragmentation. Prevalence of parasitism is related to age but we found no residual effects of size on parasitism.