Impact of host sex and age on the diversity of endoparasites and structure of individual-based host-parasite networks in nyalas (Tragelaphus angasii Angas) from three game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa

Kerstin Junker, Joop Boomker, Ivan G. Horak, Boris R. Krasnov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

In recent years, numerous studies have examined the effect of host sex and age on the structure of parasite communities in several host taxa under various environmental conditions and in different geographic regions. However, the influence of such factors on the structure of host-parasite networks has received less attention, and remarkably few studies have been carried out on large terrestrial mammals. In this study, we investigated the effects of host age and sex on the parasite infra- and component communities of nyalas (Tragelaphus angasii) and on the structure of individual-based nyala-endoparasite networks. We also aimed to evaluate to what extent these effects vary spatially and if they are mediated by conservation management. Based on a data set of internal macroparasites of 74 nyalas from three game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal province, we found that host age strongly influenced parasite community structure as well as the structure of parasite-nyala networks, whereas host sex played a minor role. However, the effects of both host sex and age were mediated by environmental conditions and thus led to different patterns at the three localities. Our findings highlight that host-parasite communities from different localities should not be pooled when conducting host-parasite network and community studies as this may bias results and mask patterns that are typical for a given locality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3249-3267
Number of pages19
JournalParasitology Research
Volume121
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Helminths
  • Host-parasite interaction
  • Infracommunities
  • Nestedness
  • Similarity
  • Traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology

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