We explored this issue by analysing the interspecific interactions between gastro-intestinal helminths and PUUV among a cross-sectional natural population sample of bank voles trapped in
different landscapes of the Ardennes, the main PUUV endemic area #VE-822 molecular weight randurls[1|1|,|CHEM1|]# in France. Methods Bank vole sampling and parasitological screenings Bank voles were sampled from September to October 2008 as PUUV and helminth prevalence levels are usually higher in autumn, which corresponds to the end of the reproductive season [e.g. among many studies [29, 30]]. We used French Agricultural Research Institute (INRA) live traps, fitted out with dormitory boxes and baited with potatoes and sunflower seeds. Nine sampling Tideglusib sites were surveyed along a North – South transect in the French Ardennes. They corresponded to three different landscape configurations: forests, which are found in the northern ‘massif des Ardennes’ and refer to large wooded areas of several thousand hectares, smaller forest fragments (wooded areas of about 50 km2) and hedge networks surrounding these fragments, which
are found in the Southern ‘crêtes pré-ardennaises’ (Figure 1). Ten 200-m trap-lines composed of 20 traps placed at 10-m intervals were placed within each site. They were checked twice a day during three consecutive nights. The minimum distance between sites was 3.2 km, that is much larger than the dispersal distance of bank voles [estimated to be 500 m in patchy landscapes, ]. Figure 1 Sampling localities for M. glareolus in the French Ardennes. Forests and wooded areas are indicated in grey. White circles
correspond to forested areas of the Northern massif des Ardennes. White and dashed circles respectively correspond to wooded areas and hedge networks of the Southern crêtes pré-ardennaises. learn more The dashed line indicates the limit between the Northern massif des Ardennes and the Southern crêtes pré-ardennaises. Numbers refer to site codes indicated in Table 1. Once trapped, voles were sacrificed by cervical dislocation as recommended by Mills et al. . They were sexed and weighted. Body length was measured from snout to vent to the nearest 1 mm. Body condition of bank voles was estimated as the body mass index [BMI = weight/length2, ]. Animals were dissected. The sexual maturation of bank voles was deduced from testes and uterus size by visual observation. Males with developed epididymis were considered as sexually mature. Females with uterus smaller than 1 mm were considered as nullipare. We also distinguished females that were in gestation or lactation (uterus larger than 3 mm, presence of fetuses or lactating mammary glands) from females that had previously reproduced (uterus size of 2 mm or uterine scars) but that were not reproducing at the time of sampling. The digestive tracts were removed and stored in 96% ethanol before being analysed in the laboratory.