Ectoparasites are unlikely to be a primary cause of population declines of bent-winged bats in south-eastern Australia
AuthorHolz, PH; Lumsden, LF; Hufschmid, J
Source TitleInternational Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife
University of Melbourne Author/sHufschmid, Jasmin
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsHolz, P. H., Lumsden, L. F. & Hufschmid, J. (2018). Ectoparasites are unlikely to be a primary cause of population declines of bent-winged bats in south-eastern Australia. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR PARASITOLOGY-PARASITES AND WILDLIFE, 7 (3), pp.423-428. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2018.10.006.
Access StatusOpen Access
While bats carry a diverse range of ectoparasites, little research has been conducted on the effects these organisms may have on bat populations. The southern bent-winged bat (Miniopterus orianae bassanii) is a critically endangered subspecies endemic to south-eastern Australia, whose numbers have declined over the past 50 years for unknown reasons. As part of a larger study to investigate the potential role of disease in these declines, southern bent-winged bats from four locations were captured and examined for the presence of bat flies, mites, ticks and the nematode Riouxgolvania beveridgei (previously associated with skin nodules in bent-winged bats). Results were compared with those obtained from the more common eastern bent-winged bat (Miniopterus orianae oceanensis), sampling animals from three different locations. All four types of parasite were found on both subspecies. There was no correlation between the presence of ectoparasites, body weight or any signs of disease. However, prevalence of tick and R. beveridgei infections were greater in Victorian southern bent-winged bats than South Australian southern bent-winged bats and eastern bent-winged bats, possibly indicative of some type of chronic stress impacting the immune system of this subspecies.
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