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Co-occurrence of Ectoparasites (Insecta and Arachnida) on Bats (Chiroptera) in an Atlantic Forest Remnant, Southeastern Brazil



Neotropical bats are infested by multiple ectoparasites (like bat fly and mite species) and investigations on these invertebrates on their hosts are crucial to better understand the ectoparasite-ectoparasite and ectoparasite-host associations. The goal of this study was to report ectoparasites species (bat flies and mites) on bats, emphasizing ectoparasite co-occurrences and host-ectoparasite associations. We also test if there is relationship between bat flies and mites on their hosts.


This study occurred twice a month from September 2011 to September 2012 in an Atlantic Forest remnant in Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Spearman correlation was used to test relationship between bat flies and mites.


We found 27 species of ectoparasites on 13 species of bats. Ectoparasites belonged to the bat fly families Streblidae and Nycteribiidae, and the mite families Spinturnicidae, Macronyssidae, Sarcoptidae, and Trombiculidae. Streblid-streblid association was more frequent, but we also recorded streblid-spinturnicid, streblid-sarcoptid and spinturnicid-spinturnicid associations. The abundance of spinturnicid species was negatively related to the abundance of streblid species. We record the first occurrence of Strebla chrotopteri associated with Chrotopterus auritus, Periglischrus paracutisternus associated with Trachops cirrhosus and Basilia juquiensis associated with Myotis riparius for Rio de Janeiro State.


There were several co-occurrences between different taxa and between species of the same family. These results show the importance of the integrated taxonomic record. The negative interspecific interactions between spinturnicid and streblid may affect distributions, structuring ectoparasite communities on hosts.

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We are grateful to Sisbio/ICMBio for allowing the bat caches (license number: 30412-2), Paracambi Secretary of the Environment and Sustainable Development for allowing this research in the park (authorization number: 027/2011), Entidade Ambientalista Onda Verde for logistic support, and many colleagues for helping in the field and the Artrópodes Parasitas Lab. Lourenço E.C. thanks the Rio de Janeiro Post-Doctoral Research Support Program (FAPERJ/CAPES—E-26/202.158/2015) for the stipends conceded. Gomes L.C.A. thanks CAPES for the Masters and PhD scholarships. Viana A.O. thanks FAPESP for the Masters scholarships.


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Correspondence to Elizabete Captivo Lourenço.

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Ethical Approval

This study followed: Sikes, R.S., & Gannon, W. L. (2011). Guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists for the use of wild mammals in research. Journal of Mammalogy, 92(1), 235–253 and the Brazilian Council of Veterinary Medicine (Resolution Nº 1000, 11 May 2012, Resolution Nº 879, 15 February 2008). The entire procedure was authorized by the Ethics Committee for the Care and Use of experimental animals of Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (number 23083009482/2012).

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Lourenço, E.C., Gomes, L.A.C., Viana, A.d. et al. Co-occurrence of Ectoparasites (Insecta and Arachnida) on Bats (Chiroptera) in an Atlantic Forest Remnant, Southeastern Brazil. Acta Parasit. 65, 750–759 (2020).

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  • Arthropod ectoparasites
  • Bat flies
  • Curió park
  • Host-ectoparasite associations
  • Mites