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Parasitol Res. 2003 May;90(1):64-70. Epub 2003 Jan 31.

A comparison of the structure of helminth communities in the woodmouse, Apodemus sylvaticus, on islands of the western Mediterranean and continental Europe.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Animale (UMR 5555 CNRS), Centre de Biologie et d'Ecologie Tropicale et Méditerranéenne, Université de Perpignan, 66860, Perpignan Cedex, France.


We investigated the pattern of helminth species diversity in woodmouse, Apodemus sylvaticus, on western Mediterranean islands. We first performed a survey of the helminth fauna of A. sylvaticus in Sicily. Despite the small sampling effort, parasite species richness in Sicily is large in comparison with parasite species richness on other Mediterranean islands. We tested the nestedness of helminth parasite species from a number of Mediterranean localities using data compiled from epidemiological surveys of the helminth species of A. sylvaticus. We showed a nested pattern for woodmouse helminth species on western Mediterranean islands which suggests that the distribution of parasites on these islands is not the result of a random process. Properties of helminth parasites such as taxonomic group or life cycle and properties of the host population localities such as area size or the stability of the environment (estimated by mammal species diversity) contribute to the nestedness.

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