Do the helminth parasites of wood mice interact?
Article first published online: 1 SEP 2005
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 74, Issue 5, pages 982–993, September 2005
How to Cite
BEHNKE, J. M., GILBERT, F. S., ABU-MADI, M. A. and LEWIS, J. W. (2005), Do the helminth parasites of wood mice interact?. Journal of Animal Ecology, 74: 982–993. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2005.00995.x
- Issue published online: 1 SEP 2005
- Article first published online: 1 SEP 2005
- Received 11 June 2004; accepted 22 March 2005
- Apodemus sylvaticus;
- Heligmosomoides polygyrus;
- 1Two published data sets of helminths of the wood mouse Apodemus sylvaticus (L.) were analysed to test the hypothesis that the structure of these component communities is influenced by interactions between species. A range of tests, with differing null models, was applied to tease out the importance of controlling for subgroupings (e.g. sex, age, site, year, season) within the data when searching for significant associations based on prevalence (co-occurrence, presence/absence) or abundance (quantitative associations) data.
- 2Significant differences from null models were detected for associations based on prevalence, but when subgroup constraints were taken into consideration, most lost significance. Among three and 15 pair-wise associations possible in data sets 1 and 2, respectively, only that between Trichuris muris and Heligmosomoides polygyrus was not dependent on context, and that between H. polygyrus and Catenotaenia pusilla, while always positive, varied in magnitude among sites of capture.
- 3Pair-wise comparisons of abundance revealed three significant associations, only one of which (H. polygyrus with C. pusilla) still remained significant after controlling for quantified extrinsic and intrinsic factors. With increasing burdens of H. polygyrus, mice carried more of other helminth species and this relationship remained significant after controlling for confounding factors.
- 4Overall, positive co-occurrences of pairs of helminths of A. sylvaticus were highly context dependent and quantitative associations were weak and not convincing. Therefore, interactions between parasites are unlikely to play a dominant role among the processes that structure the component community of helminths in wood mice, in selected study sites in the south of England.