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Host-Parasite Relationships and Species Diversity in Mammals: An Hypothesis

Kyle R. Barbehenn
Biotropica
Vol. 1, No. 2 (Dec., 1969), pp. 29-35
DOI: 10.2307/2989758
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2989758
Page Count: 7
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Host-Parasite Relationships and Species Diversity in Mammals: An Hypothesis
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Abstract

One process for increasing regional species diversity is by the joining of congeners (S1 and S2) which have evolved in geographic isolation. Mechanisms to prevent competitive exclusion of S2 by S1 in at least one habitat must pre-exist if S2 is to survive. One such mechanism may be the presence of parasites which are well adapted to S2 but which are deleterious to S1. Such secondary interactions in specific habitats may override other differences in morphology, physiology, aggressiveness, and feeding efficiency. Disease and other forms of interference between similar species may suppress total density in regions of high species diversity.

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