Vertebrates are hosts to numerous parasites, belonging to many different taxa. These parasites differ in transmission, being through either direct contact, a faecal-oral route, ingestion of particular food items, vertical or sexual transmission, or by a vector. Assessing the impact of diet on parasitism can be difficult because analysis of faecal and stomach content are uncertain and labourious; and as with molecular methods, do not provide diet information over a longer period of time. We here explored whether the analysis of stable isotopes in hair provides insight into the impact of diet and the presence of parasites in the rodent Myodes glareolus. Twenty-one animals were examined for parasites and their hair analysed for stable isotopes (C and N). A positive correlation between δ15N and one species of intestinal parasite was observed in females. Furthermore, several ectoparasites were negatively correlated with δ15N, indicating that infections are further associated with foraging habits (size and layout of the home range, length and timing of foraging, interaction with other rodents, etc.) that set the rodents in direct contact with infected hosts. Although a limited number of animals were included, it seemed that the isotope values allowed for identification of the association between diet and parasite occurrence in this rodent. We therefore propose that this method is useful in providing further insight into host biology, feeding preferences and potential exposure to parasites species, contributing to the understanding of the complex relationship between hosts and parasites.
|Journal||International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Aug 2018|
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY-NC-ND/4.0/).
- Bank vole