• Rattus norvegicus;
  • abundance;
  • flea;
  • insect;
  • louse;
  • prevalence;
  • rodent

Determining the distribution patterns of ectoparasites is important for predicting the spread of vector-borne diseases. A simple epidemiological model was used to compare the distributions of two different taxa of ectoparasitic insects, sucking lice (Insecta: Siphonaptera) and fleas (Insecta: Anoplura), on the same rodent host, Rattus norvegicus Berkenhout (Rodentia: Muridae), in Yunnan Province, China. Correlations between mean abundance and prevalence were determined. Both fleas and sucking lice were aggregated on their hosts, and sucking lice showed a higher degree of aggregation than fleas. The prevalence of both fleas and sucking lice increased with log-transformed mean abundance and a highly linear correlation and modelling efficiency of predicted prevalence against observed prevalence were obtained. The results demonstrate that prevalence can be explained simply by mean abundance.