2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Science

Flea Fauna of Some Small Mammals at Truman State University Farm
Misty Ely* and Paula Richards
Dr. Laura Fielden, Faculty Mentor

Fleas are common ectoparasites on wild rodents. However, factors that determine the degree of flea host-specificity remain largely unknown. This study examines the effect of habitat on flea-host specificity in northeast Missouri. The study started in February 2005 and is ongoing. Rodents are live-trapped on a monthly basis (120-240 trap nights) in field and forest areas on the Truman State University Farm. All rodents caught are taken to the laboratory, euthanized and checked for ectoparasites. Any ectoparasites found are preserved in 75% ethanol, numbered, and identified down to species level. To date six species of fleas have been identified from one rodent species Peromyscus leucopus. Field habitats have a higher diversity and abundance of fleas (four species, 2.2 fleas per rodent) than do forest habitats (two species, 1.8 fleas per rodent). It appears that habitat has a very significant impact on flea assemblages on a single host species.

Keywords: Fleas, rodents, habitat

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 60-59
Location: OP Lobby and Atrium
Time: 4:15

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