Data from: Habitat fragmentation and the prevalence of parasites (Diptera, Streblidae) on three Phyllostomid bat species
Bolívar-Cimé, Beatriz et al. (2017), Data from: Habitat fragmentation and the prevalence of parasites (Diptera, Streblidae) on three Phyllostomid bat species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.tv854
Ectoparasitism in bats seems to be influenced strongly by the type of roost preferred by the hosts, and group size; however, the effect of habitat loss and fragmentation on the prevalence of ectoparasites in bats has scarcely been studied. In northeastern Yucatan, Mexico, we estimated the prevalence of infestation by Streblidae flies in three phyllostomid bat species with different roost preferences (caves, trees, or both) in two types of landscape matrices (tropical semi-deciduous forest and man-made pastures) that differed in area of forest cover and the number of forest fragments. Habitat fragmentation and the presence of a contrasting matrix may limit the availability of roosts (trees) and the movement of bats across the landscape. Accordingly, we hypothesized higher prevalence of Streblidae infestation in the pasture matrix and in the group of bats that roost in trees. Bat abundance was higher in the pasture matrix; however, the prevalence of infestation was significantly higher in the continuous forest matrix and in bats that roosted in caves. The prevalence of some species of Streblidae was affected by habitat fragmentation in species that roost in caves, such as Desmodus rotundus, as well as those using foliage and caves, such as Artibeus jamaicensis. Our results provide evidence that some species of Streblidae may respond differently to habitat fragmentation than their hosts, generating changes to bat-ectoparasite interactions in fragmented areas. Environmental variations involving roosts, not evaluated in this study, may influence our results, since these factors affect ectoparasite abundance and reproduction.