A quantitative survey of the fleas associated with the gray-tailed vole, Microtus canicaudus Miller Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/wh246v84x

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  • A study of the population dynamics and ecology of the fleas associated with the gray-tailed vole, Microtus canicaudus Miller, was conducted on three sites surrounding the city of Corvallis, Oregon. Over a period of 12 months, 22,641 adult and larval fleas representing three families and eight species were recovered from 428 voles and 256 nests. Catallagia charlottensis (Baker) 1898 was by far the most abundant flea species, followed by Atyphloceras multidentatus (Co Fox) 1909, Hystrichopsylla occidentalis Holland 1949, Peromyscopsylla selenis (Rothschild) 1906, Nosopsyllus fasciatus (Bosc d'Antic) 1801, Monopsyllus wagneri (Baker) 1904, Corrodopsylla curvata (Rothschild) 1915, and four specimens of an unidentified Rhadinopsylla. On all sites, flea populations experienced spring and early winter peaks followed by drastic summer and midwinter declines. The summer decline was especially severe and at this time fleas were generally confined to subterranean nests. This cycle did not correspond with that of the vole itself which bred principally from spring to fall, producing only an occasional litter during the winter months. Fluctuations in flea populations were positively correlated with humidity and negatively correlated with temperature. Indices of extensity and intensity were computed for each flea species, and data were collected concerning the pattern of flea distribution on the body of the gray-tailed vole. Contingency tests were employed to determine whether flea infestations were dependent on particular host attributes, such as sex, size, age and physiological condition. Yearly sex ratios were computed for the seven most abundant fleas and monthly ratios for the two principal species. Finally, negative binomial distributions were fit to the observed frequency distributions of Atyphloceras multidentatus, Catallagia charlottensis and fleas collectively on 377 comparable voles.
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