Feeding performance of fleas on different host species: is phylogenetic distance between hosts important? Academic Article uri icon


  • We asked if and how feeding performance of fleas on an auxiliary host is affected by the phylogenetic distance between this host and the principal host of a flea. We investigated the feeding of 2 flea species, Parapulex chephrenis and Xenopsylla ramesis, on a principal (Acomys cahirinus and Meriones crassus, respectively) and 8 auxiliary host species. We predicted that fleas would perform better (higher proportion of fleas would feed and take larger bloodmeals) on (a) a principal rather than an auxiliary host and (b) auxiliary hosts phylogenetically closer to a principal host. Although feeding performance of fleas differed among different hosts, we found that:(1) fleas did not always perform better on a principal host than on an auxiliary host; and (2) flea performance on an auxiliary host was not negatively correlated with phylogenetic distance of this host from the principal host. In …

publication date

  • January 1, 2012