Colonization probabilities of parasite species often are determined by the habitat preference and vagility of host individuals. Although extinction-based interpretations have been investigated for nested subset patterns of parasite infracommunities, the low relative frequency of nestedness in colonization-dominated systems makes the determination and interpretation of nested infracommunities of broad ecological importance. In these systems, ontogenetic shifts in habitat preference or diet of the host have the potential to produce nested subset patterns of parasite infracommunities. Helminth infracommunity structure was investigated for 76 Rana vaillanti individuals collected from Laguna Escondida, Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico, in 1998. Pooled helminth infracommunities were significantly nested, as were penetrating and ingested helminth infracommunities when considered separately. Richness, diversity, and evenness of the helminth infracommunities were not correlated with host size, and did not differ between host sexes, suggesting that the structure of infracommunities simply is a product of the interaction between host individuals and their landscape mediated by individual differences in vagility. It is hypothesized that individual differences in recruitment can produce nested subset infracommunity patterns when the habitats or habitat preferences of hosts are themselves nested.

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