Contrasting responses of beta diversity components to environmental and host-associated factors in insect ectoparasites

Renan Maestri, Georgy I. Shenbrot, Elizabeth M. Warburton, Irina S. Khokhlova, Boris R. Krasnov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


1. The present study investigated whether different components (species replacement and species gains/losses) of compositional and phylogenetic beta diversity of insect ectoparasites responded similarly to environmental and host-associated gradients using a large dataset on distribution of fleas and their rodent hosts in Mongolia. 

2. Generalised dissimilarity modelling was applied to investigate whether environmental variables or host dissimilarity was the best predictor of species/lineage replacement and species/lineage gains/losses (= richness difference) components of compositional and phylogenetic flea beta diversity. 

3. The total compositional beta diversity of fleas was influenced mainly by the gradient in air temperature and, to a lesser degree, by total host beta diversity, with the former effect being associated with the richness difference component and the latter effect being associated with species replacement component. The total phylogenetic beta diversity of fleas was best explained by the total phylogenetic beta diversity of hosts, with this effect being mainly associated with the lineage replacement component, whereas the lineage richness difference component responded mainly to the temperature gradient. 

4. The results of the present indicate that not only multiple beta diversity facets are driven by different factors, but also different components of the same beta diversity facet respond to different environmental (for parasites, including host-associated) gradients. These patterns were masked when only total beta diversity was analysed. 

5. This emphasizes the importance of considering the components of insect beta diversity separately. Ignoring the separate components of beta diversity can lead to potentially erroneous inferences about the relative contribution of abiotic and biotic effects on beta diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-605
Number of pages12
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Beta diversity
  • ectoparasites
  • fleas
  • phylogeny
  • rodents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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