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Oecologia. 2017 Aug;184(4):859-871. doi: 10.1007/s00442-017-3906-4. Epub 2017 Jul 18.

From endosymbionts to host communities: factors determining the reproductive success of arthropod vectors.

Author information

1
Department of Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
2
Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 84990, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel.
3
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel.
4
The Inter-University Institute for Marine Sciences, Eilat, Israel.
5
Faculty of Biological Sciences, School of Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
6
Department of Public Health Sciences, Center for Biomedical Informatics, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
7
Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA.
8
Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 84990, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel. hadashaw@bgu.ac.il.

Abstract

Elucidating the factors determining reproductive success has challenged scientists since Darwin, but the exact pathways that shape the evolution of life history traits by connecting extrinsic (e.g., landscape structure) and intrinsic (e.g., female's age and endosymbionts) factors and reproductive success have rarely been studied. Here we collected female fleas from wild rodents in plots differing in their densities and proportions of the most dominant rodent species. We then combined path analysis and model selection approaches to explore the network of effects, ranging from micro to macroscales, determining the reproductive success of these fleas. Our results suggest that female reproductive success is directly and positively associated with their infection by Mycoplasma bacteria and their own body mass, and with the rodent species size and total density. In addition, we found evidence for indirect effects of rodent sex and rodent community diversity on female reproductive success. These results highlight the importance of exploring interrelated factors across organization scales while studying the reproductive success of wild organisms, and they have implications for the control of vector-borne diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Fitness; Life history; Model selection; Parasites; Path analysis; Scales

PMID:
28721523
DOI:
10.1007/s00442-017-3906-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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