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Psyche
Volume 2010, Article ID 934508, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/934508
Research Article

Distribution and Ecological Niches of Gamasid Mites (Acari: Mesostigmata) on Small Mammals in Southwest China

1Institute of Pathogens and Vectors, Dali University, Dali, Yunnan 671000, China
2School of Basic Medicine, Dali University, Dali, Yunnan 671000, China

Received 1 October 2009; Revised 2 February 2010; Accepted 22 April 2010

Academic Editor: Brian Forschler

Copyright © 2010 Li-Qin Huang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The ectoparasitic gamasid mites found on small mammals are important arthropods in the field of medical entomology. This paper studied the distribution and ecological niches of ectoparasitic gamasid mites on small mammal hosts in Yunnan Province of southwest China. Levins' niche breadth and Colwell-Futuyma's method were used to quantitatively evaluate host-specificity and similarity of host selection, and hierarchical analysis was used to illustrate niche overlap among gamasid mite species. Species diversity of both small mammals and gamasid mites was lower in indoor habitats than that in outdoor habitats. Most gamasid mite species were found on the body surface of the host species and niche breadths varied from species to species. A species with low niche breadth indicates high host specificity and most gamasid mites showed a relatively low niche overlap. The results suggest that a coevolutionary relationship may exist between some species of gamasid mites and their small mammal hosts.