VARIATION IN ECTOPARASITE LOAD REFLECTS LIFE HISTORY TRAITS IN THE LESSER MOUSE-EARED BATMYOTIS BLYTHII(CHIROPTERA: VESPERTILIONIDAE) IN WESTERN IRAN

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Abstract

We studied seasonal variation of ectoparasite load (number of parasites per individual bat) in free-ranging populations of the lesser mouse-eared bat Myotis blythii in western Iran. Data for 1 species each of batfly (Nycteribidae), tick (Ixodidae), and mite (Spinturnicidae) are reported for a 1 yr period. Patterns of parasite load during this time differed considerably among species. However, the parasite load increased markedly in pregnant females in spring and early summer. During the same time frame, parasite load decreased in solitary males when they roosted apart from maternity clusters. However, in late summer, when bats began swarming, males showed a significant (P < 0.05) increase in parasite load. Using the ratio of body mass to length of forearm as an index of body condition, no significant correlation was found.

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