Oecologia

, Volume 138, Issue 4, pp 648–654

Causal mechanisms underlying host specificity in bat ectoparasites

  • Maud S. Giorgi
  • Raphaël Arlettaz
  • Frédéric Guillaume
  • Sébastien Nusslé
  • Carlo Ossola
  • Peter Vogel
  • Philippe Christe
Behavioural Ecology

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-003-1475-1

Cite this article as:
Giorgi, M.S., Arlettaz, R., Guillaume, F. et al. Oecologia (2004) 138: 648. doi:10.1007/s00442-003-1475-1

Abstract

In parasites, host specificity may result either from restricted dispersal capacity or from fixed coevolutionary host-parasite adaptations. Knowledge of those proximal mechanisms leading to particular host specificity is fundamental to understand host-parasite interactions and potential coevolution of parasites and hosts. The relative importance of these two mechanisms was quantified through infection and cross-infection experiments using mites and bats as a model. Monospecific pools of parasitic mites (Spinturnix myoti and S. andegavinus) were subjected either to individual bats belonging to their traditional, native bat host species, or to another substitute host species within the same bat genus (Myotis). The two parasite species reacted differently to these treatments. S. myoti exhibited a clear preference for, and had a higher fitness on, its native host, Myotis myotis. In contrast, S. andegavinus showed no host choice, although its fitness was higher on its native host M. daubentoni. The causal mechanisms mediating host specificity can apparently differ within closely related host-parasite systems.

Keywords

Host-parasite interactions Coevolution Spinturnix Adaptive specialization hypothesis Host preference 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maud S. Giorgi
    • 1
  • Raphaël Arlettaz
    • 2
  • Frédéric Guillaume
    • 1
  • Sébastien Nusslé
    • 1
  • Carlo Ossola
    • 1
  • Peter Vogel
    • 1
  • Philippe Christe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and EvolutionUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Zoological Institute—Conservation BiologyUniversity of Bern BernSwitzerland

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