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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Influence of Body Size and Sex on Ectoparasite Loads in Southern Flying Squirrels (Glaucomys Volans)

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AUTHORS: Mary Beth Scheihing, Western Illinois University; Will T. Rechkemmer, Western Illinois University; Sean E. Jenkins, Western Illinois University; Shelli A. Dubay, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Christopher N. Jacques, Western Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Ectoparasites can have long-term negative fitness consequences for host organisms, and have been attributed to differences in sex and body condition. The degree to which parasites may affect populations of host species may depend on a variety of factors including the host species itself, intersexual variation in reproductive strategies, ability of parasites to move between host organisms, and variability in parasitism among sex and age classes within host populations Southern flying squirrels (SFS; Glaucomys volans) nest communally nest during the non-mating season, do not exhibit sexual dimorphism, and display marked intersexual differences in breeding behaviors and territoriality between males (non-territorial) and females (territorial during the mating season). Thus, SFS are excellent organisms to evaluate hypotheses related to host-parasite relations across the Midwest. The overall goal of our study is to investigate potential effects of sex and body morphometrics (e.g., mass, skull length) on ectoparasite loads in SFS. Because of the unique landscape characteristics (e.g., high forest fragmentation) across the Midwest, population and disease dynamics of SFS may vary relative to other landscapes characterized by more contiguous forests. During summer 2016, we collected ectoparasites from 46 SFS (14 males, 32 females). Mean number of ectoparasites collected per animal was 0.77 (SE = 0.18), and was similar (F1,43 = 0.23, P = 0.63) among male (mean = 0.75, SE = 0.34) and female (mean = 0.61, SE = 0.13) squirrels. Preliminary results yielded no effects (F1,43 ≤ 2.13, P ≥ 0.07) of parasite load on body mass or skull length, which may be an artifact of limited numbers of males captured during the summer months. Animal capture and parasite collection efforts are ongoing through November 2016 and complete results will be included in the poster presentation.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

Attendees (2)