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Fleas from domestic pets are affecting wildlife

N. J. Clark, J. M. Seddon, J. Šlapeta, K. Wells

Parasites and Vectors (2018) 11, 8

doi: 10.1186/s13071-017-2564-z

• What did the research find?

The study showed that cat fleas are among the most host generalist of all ectoparasites, a trait that likely contributes to parasite spread at the human-wildlife interface.

Over 130 wildlife species were found to harbour cat fleas, representing nearly 20 per cent of all mammal species sampled for fleas. Phylogenetic models indicate cat fleas are capable of infesting a broad diversity of wild mammal species through ecological fitting. Wildlife that use anthropogenic habitats are at highest risk. Dog fleas, by contrast, have been recorded in 31 mammal species that are primarily restricted to certain phylogenetic clades, including canids, felids and murids.

• How was it conducted?

A systematic literature search and web scraping tools were used to build a global database of cat and dog flea infestations …

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