Flea infestation and energy requirements of rodent hosts: are there general rules? Academic Article uri icon


  • 2The energy requirements, body mass change and blood parameters of flea-parasitized and nonparasitized gerbils (Gerbillus andersoni) were measured and compared with published data for a close relative (Gerbillus dasyurus). G. andersoni possesses a constitutive immune response that could require additional maintenance costs, whereas G. dasyurus develops an immune response only after being attacked by fleas. We therefore predicted that G. andersoni has higher energy requirements than G. dasyurus when both species are parasite-free. However, we also predicted that the immunological 'readiness' of G. andersoni makes it less susceptible to flea infestation than G. dasyurus … 3Energy requirements for maintenance were estimated by offering different levels of metabolizable energy to parasitized and nonparasitized animals and measuring changes in their body mass. At the end of the experiment, blood samples were taken …

publication date

  • January 1, 2006