Knowledge of the bionomics of plague vectors, es-pecially factors which influence life history, host pre-ference, and fluctuations of flea populations, are basic to an understanding of plague ecology. Orchopeas leucopus (Baker), an ectoparasite of cricetid rodents such as Peromyscus maniculatus (Wagner), and Peromyscus truei (Baird), is a vector of plague in the western United States (Holdenried and Morlan, 1955). In a study of nine biotic corrnnunities in the Utah portion of the Great Basin, P. maniculatus was the most abundant rodent in seven of the biotic corrnnunities (Olsen, 1966). Because of the ubiquitous nature of P. maniculatus an interchange of its fleas with other animals might be expected, but this does not seem to be so with O. leucopus, as it is found mostly on cricetid rodents of the genus Peromyscus, and only occasionally on other rodents, thus indicating some degree of host specifi-city. There are many published reports which indicate that some ectoparasites prefer one species of host over another. Evans and Freemen (1950), Hopkins (1957), Holland (1958), and Wenzel and Tipton (1966) suggested that insights into host suitability with reference to ecology and physiology of the majority of flea species are largely unknown. Most host preference studies have not dealt with flea species endemic to the western states.
College and Department
Plant and Wildlife Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Baum, Lynden Phillip, "Bionomics and the influence of diet upon the maturation of Orchopeas leucopus (Baker)" (1972). Theses and Dissertations. 7624.