ABSTRACT

Hosts that overlap geographically, are less phylogenetically divergent, and/or share similar ecological conditions (e.g., climate, habitat type) are also likely to share parasites. Here we assessed the ectoparasite communities sustained by 3 solitary species of Bathyergidae (Georychus capensis, Bathyergus suillus, and Bathyergus janetta) as well as the endoparasites exploiting G. capensis and compared them with those reported in the literature for other sympatric and parapatric African mole-rat species. In addition to 1 nematode (Trichuris sp.) and 1 symbiotic ciliate (Meistoma georychi), we collected mites of the genera Androlaelaps and Bathyergolichus as well as unidentified trombiculids from these hosts. Host specificity was high at either the species, genus, or family level for Androlaelaps spp. and Bathyergolichus spp. irrespective of geographic proximity, host phylogeny, or ecological conditions. Host sharing was more limited for helminths but observed among sympatric host species. Our results suggest that ecological similarity and geographic proximity may be more important determinants of host sharing than phylogeny within Bathyergidae.

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