The effects of host-related, parasite-related and environmental factors on the diversity and abundance of two ectoparasite taxa, fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera) and mites (Acari: Mesostigmata), parasitic on small mammals (rodents and marsupials), were studied in different localities across Brazil. A stronger effect of host-related factors on flea than on mite assemblages, and a stronger effect of environmental factors on mite than on flea assemblages were predicted. In addition, the effects of parasite-related factors on flea and mite diversity and abundance were predicted to manifest mainly at the scale of infracommunities, whereas the effects of host-related and environmental factors were predicted to manifest mainly at the scale of component and compound communities. This study found that, in general, diversity and abundance of flea and mite assemblages at two lower hierarchical levels (infracommunities and component communities) were affected by host-related, parasite-related and environmental factors, and compound communities were affected mainly by host-related and environmental factors. The effects of factors differed between fleas and mites: in fleas, community structure and abundance depended on host diversity to a greater extent than in mites. In addition, the effects of factors differed among parasite assemblages harboured by different host species.
- Small mammals
- Species richness