Ectoparasitic insects and mites on Yunnan red-backed voles (Eothenomys miletus) from a localized area in southwest China

Xian Guo Guo*, John R. Speakman, Wen-Ge Dong, Xing-Yuan Men, Ti-Jun Qian, Dian Wu, Feng Qin, Wen-Yu Song

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Ectoparasitic insects and mites on Yunnan red-backed voles (Eothenomys miletus) in Dali prefecture, Yunnan Province, southwest China, were studied between 2003 and 2004. In total, 34,389 individuals of 86 species of ectoparasitic insects (seven species of fleas and five species of sucking lice) and mites (23 species of gamasid mites and 51 species of chigger mites) were collected from 916 individual hosts. The diversity of ectoparasites on this single rodent species in such a small area was much higher than in previous reports, which concerned more host species and greater geographical areas. The majority of the ectoparasites were chigger mites, which accounted for 59.3 % of the parasite species and 87.4 % of the individual parasites. Most voles harbored parasites with an overall prevalence (P) of 82.5 % and mean abundance (MA) of 37.5 parasites per host. The dispersion coefficient (C) and patchiness index (m*/m) were used to study the spatial patterns of the seven dominant parasite species, and all seven had aggregated distributions. The species abundance distribution of the ectoparasites on the vole was fitted by Preston's lognormal distribution (R 2 = 0.82), and the total expected parasite species was estimated from this plot as 167 species. Yunnan red-backed voles harbor many ectoparasites as revealed by examination of a large host population. Future field investigations should sample large numbers of host individuals to assess ectoparasite populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3543-3549
Number of pages7
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number10
Early online date2 Aug 2013
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

The project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81260259) and the China Scholarship Council (no. 2009853566) to Xian-guo Guo who visited the University of Aberdeen, UK, between 2011 and 2012. We would like to express our thanks for the fund support.


  • Parasite Species
  • Hemorrhagic Fever With Renal Syndrome
  • Typhus
  • Scrub Typhus
  • Species Abundance Distribution


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