Journal of Helminthology

Research Papers

The helminth parasites of the wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus and their effect on host condition in Dunas de Mira, Portugal

C. Eiraa1a2 c1, J. Torresa1, J. Miquela1 and J. Vingadaa2

a1 Laboratori de Parasitologia, Departament de Microbiologia i Parasitologia Sanitàries, Facultat de Farmàcia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Joan XXIII, sn, 08028 Barcelona, Spain

a2 Departamento de Biologia, Universidade do Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal

Abstract

The present study focuses on the helminth parasite community of the wild rabbit in a sand dune area in Portugal over a 5-year period. The influence of host sex and year on the composition of the helminth community is assessed, along with the potential effect of the detected helminths on host body condition. The basic structure of the helminth community comprises Mosgovoyia ctenoides, Graphidium strigosum, Trichostrongylus retortaeformis, Nematodiroides zembrae and Passalurus ambiguus. Mean intensities of G. strigosum varied between years. General G. strigosum intensities were also found to vary according to both year and host sex, but not according to the interaction of both factors. When assessing the effect of helminths on rabbit body condition (expressed by the kidney fat index), higher burdens of M. ctenoides, a cestode that presents a relatively large body mass, were found to induce a reduction in rabbit condition.

(Accepted September 22 2006)

(Online publication June 12 2007)

Correspondence:

c1 Fax:+34 934 024 504 E-mail: catarina.eira@gmail.com