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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 11:113-122 (2010)  -  DOI:

Contribution to the Theme Section 'Responses of animals to habitat alteration'

Seasonal variations in gastrointestinal parasites excreted by the gray mouse lemur Microcebus murinus in Madagascar

Brigitte M. Raharivololona1,2,*, Jörg U. Ganzhorn2

1Département d’Anthropologie et de Biologie Évolutive, Faculté des Sciences, PO Box 906, Université d’Antananarivo, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar
2Department of Animal Ecology and Conservation, University of Hamburg, Biozentrum Grindel, Martin-Luther-King Platz 3,
20146 Hamburg, Germany

ABSTRACT: We describe seasonal variations in gastrointestinal parasites found in feces of the gray mouse lemur Microcebus murinus. Our study was carried out in the evergreen littoral forest of Mandena, Madagascar. Fecal samples from M. murinus caught during monthly trapping sessions were screened for eggs and larvae of intestinal parasites. Gastrointestinal parasite infection of M. murinus was characterized by parasite species richness, the prevalence of parasites, and the intensity of infection expressed as the number of parasite eggs, larvae, and cysts per g feces. We used a modification of the McMaster flotation egg counting technique to quantify parasite egg shedding. Parasite excretions changed seasonally when analyzed on the level of individual hosts. The number of parasite species and the abundance of parasite eggs and larvae in Microcebus feces were higher during the hot season than during the cold season. Reduced parasite excretion during the cold season could be due to environmental factors or to the ability of M. murinus to enter torpor and hibernation during the cold season, which might lead to reduced metabolism of intestinal parasites and might thus result in reduced shedding of eggs. No such variation was found when the analyses were based on samples of unknown origin.

KEY WORDS: Primates · Madagascar · Parasite infection · Torpor · Seasonal variation · Nematoda ·  Cestoda

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Cite this article as: Raharivololona BM, Ganzhorn JU (2010) Seasonal variations in gastrointestinal parasites excreted by the gray mouse lemur Microcebus murinus in Madagascar. Endang Species Res 11:113-122.

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