, Volume 15, Issue 14, pp 4619-4632

Endoparasite Species Richness of Iberian Carnivores: Influences of Host Density and Range Distribution

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Abstract.

We investigate the determinants of macroparasite species richness of Iberian carnivores. For this, we used the parasitological data collected on 14 species of carnivores over a 10-year period. These previously unpublished data permitted to estimate parasite species richness using estimators of species richness, i.e. Jackknife first order and Chao 2. Most of the parasite species were rare, with low prevalence. Potential determinants were investigated as possible factors explaining the variability of parasites species richness among carnivores host body mass, host geographical range, host longevity and host density. Using independent contrasts, we found positive relationships between residuals of estimates of parasite species richness and residuals in host density, and between residuals of estimates of parasite species richness and residuals in host range. These results are discussed in terms of risk of extinction and invasion abilities related to a possible investment in immune defences correlated with parasite diversity.