Host-parasite interactions in a fragmented landscape

A. R. Renwick*, X. Lambin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Theory suggests that habitat fragmentation should reduce the risk of being parasitised due to reduced size and increased isolation of the host population. It is predicted that a threshold host population size exists, below which parasites will not be able to persist. Small mammals were trapped and their ecto-parasites removed in 14 field margins of varying widths over 2 years in a highly fragmented.agro-ecosystem. No evidence to suggest the presence of a threshold in parasite prevalence was found, which may be due to the high rate of host movement and transiency within the system. Contrary to expectation, the probability of infestation decreased with host abundance and the abundance of alternative hosts, suggesting a dilution effect. The relatively long life cycle of small mammal specialist tick and flea species present under the prevailing environmental conditions may have left the parasites unable to keep up with the rate of reproduction and dispersal of the host. It is important to consider changes in the behaviour of the host and the presence of alternative hosts when predicting the effects of habitat fragmentation on disease spread. (C) 2012 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number1
Early online date15 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • habitat fragmentation
  • patterns
  • alternative hosts
  • habitat loss
  • thresholds
  • transmission dynamics
  • community structure
  • seasonal dynamics
  • density
  • abundance
  • dilution effect
  • fleas
  • ticks
  • disease
  • population


Dive into the research topics of 'Host-parasite interactions in a fragmented landscape'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this