We collected 532 fleas, 526 of which were Foxella ignota ignota, from 247 northern pocket gophers, Thomomys talpoides, in Elbert County, Colorado, over 13 months. Other fleas included 1 Hystrichopsylla dippiei ssp., 3 Spicata rara, 1 Oropsylla idahoensis, and 1 female flea tentatively identified as Oropsylla (Opisocrostis) sp. These are new records for H. dippiei ssp. and S. rara in Elbert County. Fleas were cleared using standard methods and were placed on microscope slides in Canada balsam. The number of fleas per host ranged from 0 to 26. The highest median number of fleas per host (n = 5) was in May with a low median (n = 0) in August. Mean intensity and relative density of fleas peaked in April and May, respectively. Total flea abundance peaked from April through July. Approximately 72% of the male gophers (N = 99) were infested with fleas, whereas 57% of the females (N = 148) had fleas. Flea abundance on male gophers did not decrease nor did flea abundance on females increase as would be expected if flea breeding were influenced by hormones of the host. We suggest further randomized studies of fleas on T. talpoides to investigate parasite abundance throughout the year.
Pigage, Helen K.; Pigage, Jon C.; and Tillman, James F.
"Fleas associated with the northern pocket gopher (Thomomys talpoides) in Elbert County, Colorado,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 65:
2, Article 9.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol65/iss2/9