Prevalence of Ectoparasites on Small Mammals Inhabiting an Agroforestry System of Western Portugal

Maílis Carrilho, Daniela Teixeira, Marcelo Silva, Mónica Nunes, Maria Luísa Vieira, Maria Teresa Novo, Margarida Santos-Reis, Luís Miguel Rosalino

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The goal of this study was to assess ectoparasite-small mammal host associations in central-west Portugal in native and exotic habitats, respectively, including a cork oak woodland and a Eucalyptus plantation. Mammals were sampled with Sherman and pitfall traps, and ectoparasites were collected and identified in all samples. We trapped 681 small mammals: 5 rodent species - wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus (N = 527); the Algerian mouse, Mus spretus (N = 67); Cabrera's vole, Microtus cabrerae (N = 8); the Lusitanian pine vole, Microtus lusitanicus (N = 2); and the black rat, Rattus rattus (N = 1) - and 1 insectivore species - the greater white-toothed shrew, Crocidura russula (N = 76). We identified 4 flea species (Nosopsyllus fasciatus, Ctenophthalmus sp., Typhloceras favosus, and Typhloceras poppei); 5 tick species (Haemaphysalis punctata, Ixodes ricinus, Ornithodoros sp., Rhipicephalus pusillus, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus); and 1 chigger species (Neotrombicula sp.) from hosts. The wood mouse was the small mammal species with the highest overall ectoparasite prevalence, although ticks were the least prevalent taxon. We found that ectoparasite guilds represented a somewhat generalist host pattern, and chiggers presented some host specificity. The data presented herein increase the knowledge regarding ectoparasite prevalence and distribution among small mammal hosts in the Mediterranean. Although surveys of ectoparasites of small mammals in central-west Portugal are not novel, this is the first time that a species belonging to the genus Ctenophthalmus is reported from M. cabrerae (Cabrera's vole) in Portugal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Parasitology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2023


  • chiggers
  • Ctenophthalmus
  • Eucalyptus globulus
  • exotic plantations
  • fleas
  • Ixodes ricinus
  • Neotrombicula
  • Rhipicephalus pusillus
  • rodents
  • ticks


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