Seasonal changes in the infestation parameters of the sucking louse, Linognathoides laeviusculus (Phthiraptera: Anoplura: Linognathidae), infesting Richardson’s ground squirrel (Rodentia: Sciuridae) in Manitoba
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Cambridge University Press
Linognathoides laeviusculus (Grube) is a louse found exclusively on North American ground squirrels but little is known about how the life history, physiology and hibernation of the host influence their population dynamics. Two hundred fourteen Richardson’s ground squirrels (Urocitellus richardsonii)(Sabine) were trapped over the summer of 2010, and the age, sex, and mass of all euthanized squirrels were recorded. Squirrels were hand-washed to remove lice which were then identified to species, and by stage of development and sex. Linognathoides laeviusculus was the only louse collected. In total, 5057 lice were collected with 63.6% of the squirrels infested at a mean intensity 37.2 (90% CI=29.98–48.66). Two peaks in prevalence of L. laeviusculus infestations occurred (April and mid-June), and one peak in intensity (June). Juvenile squirrels had higher prevalence and mean intensity when compared to adults. Adult male squirrels had higher mean intensity compared to adult females. Adult lice comprised most of the population infesting emerging adult squirrels in the spring but nymphs predominated for most of the active season. Infestations were highly aggregated with k =0.203 and index of discrepancy D=0.813. The seasonal dynamics of L. laeviusculus appear to be strongly correlated with the annual cycle of the squirrel host.
Urocitellus richardsonii, ectoparasites
Yunik M, Waterman JM, Galloway TD. 2016. Seasonal changes in the infestation parameters of the sucking louse, Linognathoides laeviusculus (Phthiraptera: Anoplura: Linognathidae), infesting Richardson’s ground squirrel (Rodentia: Sciuridae) in Manitoba. The Canadian Entomologist. 148(2):143-150.