Effects of ectoparasite removal on Peromyscus leucopus and Ochrotomys nuttalli within a forest ecosystem
Moree, James Olin
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There are a growing number of case studies that describe the role of parasites affecting host population dynamics through effects on survival and reproduction. There exists, however, a need for experimental removal studies, especially regarding ectoparasites. We examined changes in reproductive success, survival, and abundance of wild rodents following ectoparasite removal. Frontline Plus® was applied to 2 species of small mammals, Peromyscus leucopus and Ochrotomys nuttalli, in an attempt to control ectoparasites. We established 4 treatment and 4 control transects in forest-edge habitat. Tick parasitism in P. leucopus was significantly reduced 28 days following treatment, compared with control values. Body mass appeared to impact treatment efficacy; increases in body mass resulted in higher rates of tick parasitism following application in P. leucopus. Botflies were effectively excluded in both small mammal species for 28 days following application. We found no evidence that treatment application increased reproductive success, survival, or abundance of P. leucopus or O. nuttalli.