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Biting flies (Diptera) transmit pathogens that cause many important diseases in humans as well as domestic and wild animals. The networks of feeding interactions linking these insects to their hosts, and how they vary geographically and in response to human land-use, are currently poorly documented but are relevant to understanding cross-species disease transmission. We compiled a database of biting Diptera-host interactions from the literature to investigate how key interaction network metrics vary latitudinally and with human land-use. Interaction evenness and H2' (a measure of the degree of network specificity) did not vary significantly with latitude. Compared to near-natural habitats, interaction evenness was significantly lower in agricultural habitats, where networks were dominated by relatively few species pairs, but there was no evidence that the presence of humans and their domesticated animals within networks led to systematic shifts in network structure. We discuss the epidemiological relevance of these results and the implications for predicting and mitigating future spill-over events.

Original publication




Journal article


Med Vet Entomol

Publication Date



bipartite, biting Diptera, blood meal, ecological interactions, habitat modification