Ectoparasite performance when feeding on reproducing mammalian females: an unexpected decrease when on pregnant hosts Academic Article uri icon


  • Reproduction is an energy-demanding activity in mammalian females, with increased energy requirements during pregnancy and, especially, during lactation. To better understand the interactions between parasitism and host reproduction, we investigated feeding and reproductive performance of fleas (Xenopsylla ramesis) parasitizing non- reproducing, pregnant or lactating gerbilline rodents (Meriones crassus). Based on energetic considerations, we predicted that feeding and reproductive performance of fleas would be lowest on non-breeding females, moderate on pregnant females and highest on lactating females. We estimated feeding performance of the fleas via absolute and mass- specific bloodmeal size and reproductive performance via egg production and latency to peak oviposition. Host reproductive status had no effect on either absolute or mass …

publication date

  • April 1, 2014