Vertebrate Parasites and Inquilines

Almost all vertebrates have a suite of dependent protozoan and invertebrate parasites and inquilines. These communities of associated species are little-studied as to their sensitivity and possible loss due to population changes of their vertebrate hosts. Traditionally, these species have been looked at as deleterious to their hosts (parasites), but many are neutral or some may actually benefit their hosts (inquilines). The survival of these parasites and inquilines is dependent on the existence of healthy host metapopulations. Where their hosts suffer declines the parasites and inquilines also decline, and may even become extirpated before their hosts. Examples of these groups include ticks that feed on mammals, bird lice (Order Mallophaga), swallow bat bugs (Order Heteroptera, Family Cimicidae), parasitic flies that live only on bats (families Nycteribiidae and Streblidae), horse and deer flies (family Tabanidae), mosquitos that feed on reptiles, birds, and mammals, and botflies (family Oestridae). An analysis of the parasites and inquilines of vertebrates associated with mature and old-growth forests is not available.


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