Parasitology, Harold W. Manter Laboratory of


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Dursahinhan, A.T., Botero-Cañola, S., Gardner, S.L. (2023). Intercontinental comparisons of subterranean host-parasite communities using bipartite network analyses, Parasitology, DOI: 10.1017/S0031182023000148


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence


Rodents living in a subterranean ecotope face a unique combination of evolutionary and ecological pressures and while host species evolution may be driven by the selective pressure from the parasites they harbour, the parasites may be responding to the selective pressures of the host. Here we obtained all available subterranean rodent host-parasite records from the literature and integrated these data by utilizing a bipartite network analysis to determine multiple critical parameters to quantify and measure the structure and interactions of the organisms present in host-parasite communities. A total of 163 species of subterranean rodent hosts, 174 parasite species, and 282 interactions were used to create four networks with data well-represented from all habitable continents. The results show that there was no single species of parasite found that infects subterranean rodents throughout all zoogeographical regions. Nevertheless, species representing the genera Eimeria and Trichuris were common across all communities of subterranean rodents studied. Based on our analysis of host-parasite interactions across all communities studied, the parasite linkages show that community connectance (due to climate change or other anthropogenic factors) appears to show degraded linkages in both the Nearctic and Ethiopian regions: In this case parasites are acting as bell-weather probes signalling the loss of biodiversity.