Effect of Cuterebra fontinella (Mouse Bot Fly) on the Movement of Peromyscus leucopus (White-footed Mouse)

Abstract

Peromyscus leucopus (White-footed Mouse) is a common host for Cuterebra fontinella (Bot Fly), but few studies of this interaction in the southeastern US exist. We assessed the movement of White-footed Mice infested with Bot Flies at 9 riparian woodland sites in Spartanburg County, SC. Our objectives were to determine the prevalence of bot warbles, lumps under the skin containing Bot Fly larva, on White-footed Mice and if the warbles reduced mouse movement. We found that 17.4% of mice had bot warbles during the August trapping period, with a mean intensity of 1.21 ± 0.09 (SE) per mouse. Male and female mice did not differ in the prevalence of bot infestation. Bot-infested mice did not differ from uninfested mice in their mean squared distance from center of activity (MSD). During May, mice that later became infested with a bot warble in August, did not differ in MSD from mice that did not become infested, suggesting that greater movement does not heighten the risk of infestation. Our data show that bot warbles do not reduce the movement of White-footed Mice and our findings add to the growing consensus that Bot Flies do not have a strong negative effect on the ecology of White-footed Mice.

Publication
Southeasten Naturalist, 17(4)