Host phenology, geographic range size and regional occurrence explain interspecific variation in damselfly-water mite associations
In this study, we tested which host species' characteristics explain the nature and level of parasitism for host damselfly (Coenagrionidae)-water mite (Arrenuridae) parasite associations. Prevalence and intensity of mite parasites, and mite species richness were examined in relation to geographic range size, regional occurrence, relative local abundance, phenology and body size of host damselfly species. A total of 7107 damselfly individuals were collected representing 16 species from 13 sites in southeastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec, Canada. Using comparative methods, differences in prevalence and intensity of parasitism could be predicted by a host species' geographic range and phenology. Barcoding based on Cytochrome Oxidase I revealed 15 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) for mite species. The number of mite OTUs known to infest a given host species was explained by a host species' regional occurrence. Our findings demonstrate the need to measure factors at several ecological scales in order to understand the breadth of evolutionary interactions with host-parasite associations and the selective 'milieu' for particular species of both hosts and parasites.
Mlynarek, J.J. (Julia J.), Knee, W., & Forbes, M. (2015). Host phenology, geographic range size and regional occurrence explain interspecific variation in damselfly-water mite associations. Ecography, 38(7), 670–680. doi:10.1111/ecog.00997