THE DISTRIBUTION OF GASTROINTESTINAL PARASITES IN TWO POPULATIONS OF COMMON MOLE-RATS (CRYPTOMYS HOTTENTOTUS HOTTENTOTUS)
Journal of Parasitology
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The spread of parasites through a host population is based on the variation in behavior and immune function between individuals and is rarely uniform. We studied the gastrointestinal parasites of common mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus hottentotus, Lesson 1826) from 2 sites and assessed the levels of infection based on host sex, breeding status and season. Only nematode species were found; Neoheligmonella sp. and Mammalakis macrospiculum, (Ortlepp, 1939) and a single specimen of Trichuris sp., all of which have direct life cycles. Parasite burden and species richness was greater in the mesic habitat. The abundance of Neoheligmonella sp. differed significantly between seasons and the season of peak abundance differed between sites, perhaps due to differences in host densities between sites. In addition, parasite burden did not differ between the sexes but breeding animals had higher infections of Neoheligmonella sp. and M. macrospiculum than non-breeding animals. This and previous studies thus suggest that the subterranean environment is beneficial in reducing parasite diversity, although the restrictions on movement may lead to certain individuals suffering higher parasite burdens.
AuthorsArcher, EK; Bennett, NC; Junker, K; Faulkes, CG; Lutermann, H
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