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Bat flies (Streblidae) are obligate blood-feeding ectoparasites of bats that display varying degrees of host specificity. A total of 265 streblid bat flies were collected from 122 bats belonging to the families Phyllostomidae and Natalidae from Utila, the smallest bay island of Honduras. Out of four host-parasite associations, three were considered primary. Out of the three bat species analyzed, one had significantly lower parasite prevalence and another had significantly higher parasite load and intensity. Both male and female bats were equally likely to be infested and variables of parasite density did not differ amongst host sex for any species. However, one species of bat had a significantly larger number of male parasites than female parasites. No significant relationships were found between variables of parasite density and host body mass or bat health (indicated by the ratio of mass to forearm length). The roosting ecology of the two cave roosting species in the study was considered and despite no apparent lack of dispersal barriers, the bat flies exhibited consistent primary associations. Examination of similar host-parasite relationship has many implications in parasite-host relationships and coevolution.
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Miller, Courtney, "Host Specificity and Ectoparasite Load of Bat Flies in Utila, Honduras" (2014). Senior Honors Theses. 63.