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Revista de Biología Tropical

On-line version ISSN 0034-7744Print version ISSN 0034-7744


BARRIGA-CARBAJAL, María-Lourdes; VARGAS-SANDOVAL, Margarita  and  MENDOZA, Eduardo. Deforestation increases the abundance of rodents and their ectoparasites in the Lacandon forest, Southern Mexico. Rev. biol. trop [online]. 2023, vol.71, n.1, e31785. ISSN 0034-7744.


Tropical forests provide important ecosystem services, including disease control. However, few studies have focused on how deforestation affects species more suitable to be zoonotic vectors.


To evaluate how deforestation affects the abundance and species richness of rodents and their associated ectoparasites in a tropical ecosystem.


We captured rodents in 6 landscape units, 1 km² each, with 0.7; 5; 40; 46; 78 and 95 % tree cover, in Marques de Comillas, Chiapas, Southern Mexico. In each unit we set 90 Sherman traps that were active 24 hours for 7 days during two sampling seasons (October 2019, and September 2020). We manually extracted ectoparasites from all captured rodents.


We captured 70 rodents of five species: Sigmodon toltecus, Heteromys desmarestianus, Ototylomys phyllotis, Peromyscus mexicanus, and Oryzomys couesi. Rodent abundance increased with forest loss (R²= 0.706, P= 0.022). The greatest richness of rodent species occurred in sites with intermediate forest cover (40 and 78 %). The most abundant species were: S. toltecus (N= 45) followed by O. couesi (N= 9), these species dominated in sites with less forest cover. We recorded a total of 23 ectoparasite species, three of them known to be zoonotic vectors: Amblyomma sp., Ornithonyssus bacoti, and Androlaelaps fahrenholzi.


The ongoing loss of forests promotes the proliferation of zoonotic disease vectors in this tropical ecosystem, which can potentially increase the frequency of affectation among the local population.

Keywords : deforestation; tropical forest; zoonoses; mites; reservoirs; vectors..

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