Nestedness and beta diversity of gastrointestinal helminth communities in common warthogs, Phacochoerus africanus (Suidae), at 2 localities in South Africa

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Few studies have investigated the ecological interactions between wild species of Suidae and their parasites, leaving our knowledge concerning this host-parasite system fragmented. In the present study, we applied network studies to analyse community nestedness in helminth assemblages of common warthogs, Phacochoerus africanus (Gmelin) (Suidae). Helminth data were compiled from 95 warthogs, including young and adult males and females, from 2 different conservation areas in Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces, South Africa, collected monthly over a period of 1 year each. The aim was to study the effect of host sex, age and season of sampling on the structure of helminth infracommunities harboured by the warthogs and to search for non-random structural patterns in the warthog-helminth interaction networks. Furthermore, we investigated the influence of a warthog's age, sex and season of sampling on beta diversity and dark diversity of their helminth infracommunities. Lastly, we asked whether the effects of host sex, age and sampling season on helminth communities differed between the 2 localities. We found that helminth communities of warthogs were nested and host-parasite interactions were influenced by all 3 factors as well as combinations thereof. However, the resulting patterns differed at the 2 localities, indicating that local environmental processes are important drivers of community structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-921
Number of pages11
JournalParasitology
Volume150
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 9 Sep 2023

Keywords

  • Beta diversity
  • Phacochoerus africanus
  • South Africa
  • community structure
  • dark diversity
  • helminths
  • nestedness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Parasitology

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