Environment and traits affect parasite and host species positions but not roles in flea–mammal networks

Boris R. Krasnov, Georgy I. Shenbrot, Irina S. Khokhlova, M. Fernanda López Berrizbeitia, Sonja Matthee, Juliana P. Sanchez, Luther Van Der Mescht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We studied spatial variation in the effects of environment and network size on species positions and roles in multiple flea–mammal networks from four biogeographic realms. We asked whether species positions (measured as species strength [SS], the degree of interaction specialization [d′], and the eigenvector centrality [C]) or the roles of fleas and their hosts in the interaction networks: (a) are repeatable/conserved within a flea or a host species; (b) vary in dependence on environmental variables and/or network size; and (c) the effects of environment and network size on species positions or roles in the networks depend on species traits. The repeatability analysis of species position indices for 441 flea and 429 host species, occurring in at least two networks, demonstrated that the repeatability of SS, d′, and C within a species was significant, although not especially high, suggesting that the indices’ values were affected by local factors. The majority of flea and host species in the majority of networks demonstrated a peripheral role. A value of at least one index of species position was significantly affected by environmental variables or network size in 41 and 36, respectively, of the 52 flea and 52 host species that occurred in multiple networks. In both fleas and hosts, the occurrence of the significant effect of environment or network size on at least one index of species position, but not on a species’ role in a network, was associated with some species traits.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIntegrative Zoology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • centrality
  • environment
  • fleas
  • small mammals
  • species strength
  • traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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