Date of this Version
Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Vol. 100(7): 761-764, November 2005, pp 761-764
Host-choice experiments were carried out with rodent and bat ectoparasites on Ilha Grande, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We constructed experimental chambers that enclosed three different rodent or bat host species, and then introduced a selected set of ectoparasitic arthropods. When given the opportunity to choose among host species, the ectoparasites showed a strong tendency to select their primary hosts, and reject novel host species. These kinds of simple experiments can be valuable tools for assessing the ability of ectoparasites to locate and discern differences between host species, and make choices about which hosts to infest, and which hosts to avoid.