Host-habitat relations as an important determinant of spatial distribution of flea assemblages (Siphonaptera) on rodents in the Negev Desert Academic Article uri icon


  • summary We studied flea assemblages on rodents in dierent habitats of the Ramon erosion cirque in the Negev Desert to examine whether hostā€habitat relations influence flea spatial distribution. Eleven flea species parasitizing 12 rodent species were recorded. There was significant positive relationship between flea species richness and body mass of the host species; no relationships were found between relative richness of flea assemblage and either the number of habitats occupied by the host species or the size of host geographical range. The dierences in pattern of flea parasitism among habitat types within host species were determined by both environmental features of a habitat and the specific pattern of habitat use by rodents. There was replacement of Xenopsylla conformis by Xenopsylla ramesis on Meriones crassus and Gerbillus dasyurus among dierent habitats. The results of ordination of the flea collections from each individual host demonstrated that the flea assemblages were segregated mainly along 4 axes, which explained 86% of total variance. Each of the ordination axes corresponded with a change in flea species composition. The directions of these changes were (1) among-hosts within a habitat and (2) among-habitats within a host.

publication date

  • January 1, 1997