Host reproductive status and reproductive performance of a parasite: offspring quality and trade-offs in a flea parasitic on a rodent. Academic Article uri icon


  • We investigated offspring quality in fleas (Xenopsylla ramesis) feeding on non-reproducing, pregnant or lactating rodents (Meriones crassus) and asked whether (a) quality of flea offspring differs dependent on host reproductive status;(b) fleas trade off offspring quantity for quality; and (c) quality variables are inter-correlated. Emergence success was highest when parents exploited pregnant hosts, while development time was longest when parents exploited lactating hosts. Male offspring from fleas fed on non-reproductive and pregnant hosts were larger than those from lactating hosts whereas female offspring from fleas fed on pregnant hosts were larger than those from both lactating and non-reproductive hosts. Male offspring survived under starvation the longest when their parents exploited lactating hosts and the shortest when their parents exploited pregnant hosts. Female offspring of parents …

publication date

  • January 1, 2014