Advertisement

Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 22, Issue 3–4, pp 545–550 | Cite as

Australia’s vanishing fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera): a case study in methods for the assessment and conservation of threatened flea species

  • Mackenzie L. Kwak
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

While invertebrate conservation is attracting increased funding and interest, research remains heavily skewed towards ‘flagship’ insect groups like bees and butterflies. This has resulted in a knowledge gap relating to less popular but equally imperilled groups like fleas. Methods for the risk assessment of host specific parasites were used to determine the conservation status of all host specific flea species distributed in Australia. The results indicated one species apparently extinct, two critically endangered, two endangered, and three vulnerable. Based on these results, novel methods for the conservation of threatened fleas are outlined, including the concepts of holistic conservation and the cryptic loss effect.

Keywords

Flea Co-endangered Holistic conservation Parasite conservation Cryptic loss effect 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I gratefully acknowledge the efforts of Allen C.G. Heath (AgResearch Ltd., Palmerston North, New Zealand), Ricardo L. Palma (Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand) and Michael W. Hastriter (Brigham Young University, Utah, USA) who kindly read over this manuscript and provided constructive criticism on its content.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares not conflicts of interest.

Informed consent

As no human subjects were involved in this work, no informed consent is required.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

No humans or live animals were involved in this work.

References

  1. Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy (2017) Species profile and threats database. http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicthreatenedlist.pl. Accessed 7 Nov 2017
  2. Bitam I, Dittmar K, Parola P, Whiting MF, Raoult D (2010) Fleas and flea-borne diseases. Int J Infect Dis 14(8):e667–e676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowkett AE (2009) Recent captive-breeding proposals and the return of the ark concept to global species conservation. Conserv Biol 23(3):773–776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Buckley TR, Palma RL, Johns PM, Gleeson DM, Heath CG, Hitchmough RA, Stringer IAN (2012) The conservation status of small or less well known groups of New Zealand terrestrial invertebrates. N Z Entomol 35:137–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bulgarella M, Palma RL (2017) Coextinction dilemma in the Galápagos Islands: can Darwin’s finches and their native ectoparasites survive the control of the introduced fly Philornis downsi? Insect Conserv Divers 10:193–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cardinale BJ, Palmer MA, Collins SL (2002) Species diversity enhances ecosystem functioning through interspecific facilitation. Nature 415(6870):426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cardoso P, Borges PAV, Triantis K, Ferrández MA, Martín JL (2011) Adapting the IUCN red listing criteria for invertebrates. Biol Conserv 144:2432–2440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dunn RR (2005) Modern insect extinctions, the neglected majority. Conserv Biol 19(4):1030–1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dunnet GM, Mardon DK (1974) A monograph of Australian fleas (Siphonaptera). Aust J Zool Suppl Ser 22(30):1–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act (1999) Environment protection and biodiversity conservation act 1999. Canberra: http://www.comlaw.gov.au. http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicthreatenedlist.pl Accessed 7 Nov 2017
  11. Green RH, Munday BL (1971) Parasites of Tasmanian native and feral fauna. Part 1, Arthropoda. Rec Queen Vic Mus 41:1–16Google Scholar
  12. Hastriter MW, Whiting MF (2002) Macropsylla novaehollandiae (Siphonaptera: Hystrichopsyllidae), a new species of flea from Tasmania. Proc Entomol Soc Wash 104(3): 663–671Google Scholar
  13. Heath ACG, Stringer I, Hitchmough R, Rolfe J (2015) Conservation status of New Zealand fleas (2014) New Zealand Threat Classification Series 12, Department of Conservation, Wellington, pp 1–5Google Scholar
  14. Home R, Keller C, Nagel P, Bauer N, Hunziker M (2009) Selection criteria for flagship species by conservation organizations. Environ Conserv 36(2):139–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kaewmongkol G, Kaewmongkol S, Burmej H, Bennett MD, Fleming PA, Adams PJ, Wayne AF, Ryan U, Irwin PJ, Fenwick SG (2011) Diversity of Bartonella species detected in arthropod vectors from animals in Australia. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis 34(5):411–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lewis RE (1998) Résumé of the Siphonaptera (Insecta) of the world. J Med Entomol 35:377–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lindenmayer DB (1994) Fur-inhabiting ectoparasites of Leadbeater’s possum, Gymnobelideus leadbeateri (Marsupialia: Petauridae). Australian Mammal Society 17:109Google Scholar
  18. McKnight M (2008) Dasyurus viverrinus, IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. Accessed 7 Nov 2017Google Scholar
  19. Menkhorst P, Knight F (2011) Field guide to the mammals of Australia, 3rd edn. Oxford University Press, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  20. Metzger ME, Rust MK (2001) Laboratory techniques for rearing the fleas (Siphonaptera: Ceratophyllidae and Pulicidae) of California ground squirrels (Rodentia: Sciuridae) using a novel nest box. J Med Entomol 38(3):465–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mey E (2005) Psittacobrosus bechsteini: a new extinct chewing louse (Insecta, Phthiraptera, Amblycera) off the Cuban Macaw Ara tricolor (Psittaciiformes), with an annotated review of fossil and recently extinct animal lice. Anzeiger des Vereins Thueringer Ornithologen 5:201–217Google Scholar
  22. Miller HC, Conrad AM, Barker SC, Daugherty CH (2007) Distribution and phylogenetic analyses of an endangered tick, Amblyomma sphenodonti. NZ J Zool 34(2):97–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Moseby KE, Bice JK (2004) A trial re-introduction of the Greater Stick-nest Rat (Leporillus conditor) in arid South Australia. Ecol Manag Restor 5(2):118–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. New TR, Lambkin KJ, Calder AA (1996) Zoological catalogue of Australia Volume 28 (Neuroptera, Strepsiptera, Mecoptera, Siphonaptera). CSIRO Publishing, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  25. Paterson AM, Palma RL, Gray RD (1999) How frequently do avian lice miss the boat? Implications for coevolutionary studies. Syst Biol 48(1):214–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pérez JM, Sánchez I, Palma RL (2013) The dilemma of conserving parasites: the case of Felicola (Lorisicola) isidoroi (Phthiraptera: Trichodectidae) and its host, the endangered Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus). Insect Conserv Divers 6:680–686CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pizzi R (2009) Veterinarians and taxonomic chauvinism: the dilemma of parasite conservation. J Exot Pet Med 18(4):279–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rodrigues AS, Pilgrim JD, Lamoreux JF, Hoffmann M, Brooks TM (2006) The value of the IUCN Red List for conservation. Trends Ecol Evol 21(2):71–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rózsa L, Vas Z (2015) Co-extinct and critically co-endangered species of parasitic lice, and conservation-induced extinction: should lice be reintroduced to their hosts? Oryx 49(1):107–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Short J, Smith A (1994) Mammal decline and recovery in Australia. J Mammal 75(2):288–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith KG (1973) Insects and other arthropods of medical importance. Insects and other arthropods of medical importance. British Museum (Natural History), LondonGoogle Scholar
  32. Terzopoulou S, Rigal F, Whittaker RJ, Borges PAV, Triantis KA (2015) Drivers of extinction: the case of Azorean beetles. Biol Lett 11:1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Thompson RA, Lymbery AJ, Godfrey SS (2017) Parasites at risk–Insights from an endangered marsupial. Trends Parasitol 34(1):12–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Woinarski JC, Burbidge AA, Harrison PL (2015) Ongoing unraveling of a continental fauna: decline and extinction of Australian mammals since European settlement. Proc Natl Acad Sci 112(15):4531–4540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wyatt KB, Campos PF, Gilbert MTP, Kolokotronis SO, Hynes WH, DeSalle R, Daszak P, MacPhee RD, Greenwood AD (2008) Historical mammal extinction on Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) correlates with introduced infectious disease. PLoS ONE 3(11):e3602CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Evolutionary Biology Laboratory, Department of Biological ScienceNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations