We studied compositional turnover in communities of fleas and mites harboured by small mammals using zeta diversity metric (similarity between multiple communities) and asked whether the patterns of zeta diversity decline with an increase in the number of communities differ between taxa and hierarchical scales [infracommunities (parasite assemblages on individual hosts), component communities (parasite assemblages harboured by host populations), and compound communities (all parasite species in a locality)]. The average number of shared species declined with an increasing number of communities (zeta order). It attained zero at higher orders in infracommunities of both taxa with the shape of the zeta decline being best fitted by the negative exponential function, and the retention rate curves being modal. In contrast, zeta diversity values for compound communities of mites and fleas did not attain zero at higher zeta orders, and the form of the zeta decline was best fitted by the power-law function, whereas the retention rate curves were asymptotic. In component communities, the form of zeta decline was best fitted by either exponential or power-law function in dependence of whether communities were considered within a host across localities or across hosts within a locality and whether ubiquitous species were taken into account. Our main conclusions are that (a) the rules governing compositional turnover in parasite communities for the lowest and the highest hierarchical scales are taxon-invariant but scale-dependent and (b) species composition of infracommunities is mainly driven by stochastic assembly processed, whereas that of compound communities is mainly driven by niche-based processes.
- Shared species
- Small mammals
- Zeta diversity
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics