Nestedness of flea assemblages harboured by small mammalian hosts revisited: phylogenetic and functional nestedness do not follow compositional nestedness

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Abstract

We studied compositional, phylogenetic, and functional nestedness in the flea assemblages of 14 host species across regions. Our main questions were (a) are a host’s flea assemblages compositionally, phylogenetically, or functionally nested? (b) Do similar processes drive these nestedness facets? (d) Are a host’s biological traits associated with nestedness of its flea assemblages? Rows of host matrices were ordered by decreasing species richness/the sum of the branch lengths of a phylogenetic tree/functional dendrogram or by decreasing region area or by increasing distance from the centre of a host’s geographic range. None of the matrices sorted by species richness/sum of branch lengths were nested from a compositional perspective, but they were significantly nested from phylogenetic and functional perspectives. Compositional, phylogenetic, and functional nestedness of matrices sorted by region area or by distance from the host’s geographic range centre varied between hosts. In some hosts, flea assemblages were nested from all three perspectives independently of how matrix rows were sorted, whereas in other hosts, the occurrence of significant nestedness depended on the order of the matrix rows. The degree of phylogenetic and functional nestedness for matrices sorted by the sum of branch lengths was associated with a host species’ morphoecological traits and the latitude of its geographic range. We conclude that consideration of nestedness based solely on species composition does not allow a comprehensive understanding of the patterns of parasite community structure. Nestedness should also be considered from phylogenetic and functional perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111
JournalParasitology Research
Volume123
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Fleas
  • Mammals
  • Nestedness
  • Phylogeny
  • Traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases

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