Meeting Abstract

50.3  Thursday, Jan. 5  Mapping the Social Network: Tracking lice in a wild primate population (Microcebus rufus) to infer social contacts and vector potential ZOHDY, S*; KEMP, A.D.; DURDEN, L.A.; WRIGHT, P.C.; JERNVALL, J; University of Helsinki; University of Texas, Austin; Georgia Southern University, Statesboro; Stony Brook University, Long Island; University of Helsinki

The brown mouse lemurs (Microcebus rufus) of Madagascar's southeastern rainforests are small (40g), arboreal, nocturnal and cryptic solitary foragers for which data on population-wide interactions are difficult to obtain despite advances in relevant technology. We developed a simple method of inferring mouse lemur interactions by tracking the transfer of sucking lice (Lemurpediculus verruculosus) to compare with ranging estimates based on trapping data. We hypothesized the frequency of louse transfers, and thus interactions, will decrease with increasing distance between the trap locations of individuals. Lice were marked with a host specific color code and tracked as they moved throughout the population. As sucking lice are known pathogen vectors this method simultaneously provided insight on the population’s parasite ecology. We predicted individuals would play varying roles in the population’s overall disease transmission ecology: specifically, lemurs whose ranges overlap with more individuals have higher vector potentials. Despite limited and stereotypic trap locales per individual, the parasite transfer data indicate that the probability of contact between any two individuals (and hence louse transferal) does not vary with increasing distance. These results indicate wider ranging behavior of mouse lemurs and a higher chance for rapid population-wide pathogen transmission than based on trapping data alone. Our approach demonstrates the potential to make available otherwise inaccessible social interaction data on any trappable species parasitized by host-specific sucking lice.