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Ectoparasites and Food Habits of Elliot's Short-Tailed Shrew, Blarina hylophaga

Christopher M. Ritzi, Brian C. Bartels and Dale W. Sparks
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Mar., 2005), pp. 88-93
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3672646
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Ectoparasites and Food Habits of Elliot's Short-Tailed Shrew, Blarina hylophaga
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Abstract

The natural history of Elliot's short-tailed shrew (Blarina hylophaga) has remained virtually unknown since it was recognized as a distinct species in 1981. For this study, we examined 26 specimens of B. hylophaga for ectoparasites. We found 5 species of fleas, 1 species of tick, and 17 species of mites. We also examined stomach contents of 30 specimens of B. hylophaga and discovered that insects (particularly beetles), slugs, and spiders were the most common food items. To determine the degree of similarity between B. hylophaga and the 2 other widely distributed short-tailed shrews, we compared these data to the published ectoparasite and food habits data for B. carolinensis and B. brevicauda. We found that both the ectoparasitic fauna and the diet of B. hylophaga broadly overlap those of its congeners. We also noted, however, that each species of Blarina had parasites that were more closely associated with it than with the other 2 species of Blarina. In addition, the diet of B. hylophaga consists of harder-bodied foods, containing more beetles, fewer earthworms, and less fungi than that of the other 2 species. /// La historia natural de la musaraña Blarina hylophaga ha quedado virtualmente desconocida desde que fue reconocida como una especie distinta en 1981. En este estudio examinamos los ectoparásitos de 26 B. hylophaga. Encontramos 5 especies de pulga, 1 especie de garrapata, y 17 especies de ácaro. También examinamos los contenidos estomacales de 30 especímenes de B. hylophaga y se descubrió que los insectos (particularmente escarabajos), babosas y arañas fueron la comida más común. Para determinar el grado de semejanza entre B. hylophaga y las otras dos musarañas ampliamente distribuidas, comparamos estos datos con los publicados de ectoparásitos y hábitos alimenticios de B. carolinensis y B. brevicauda. Encontramos que ambos la fauna de ectoparásitos y la dieta de B. hylophaga se sobrelapan ampliamente con las de sus congéneres. Sin embargo, notamos también que cada especie de Blarina tuvo parásitos que están cercanamente asociados con la misma que con las otras 2 especies de Blarina. Además, la dieta de B. hylophaga consiste de comida más dura, conteniendo más escarabajos, menos lombrices y menos hongos que la de las otras 2 especies.

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