Research Article

A new species of Angiostrongylus in an Australian rat, Rattus fuscipes

Manoon Bhaibulayaa1

a1 Department of Parasitology, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

A survey of lungworm infection in rats in Queensland has shown that 23% of Rattus norvegicus, 6·5% of R. rattus 4·5% of R. fuscipes and 0% of Melomys cervinipes were infected with lungworms. Detailed examination of the lungworms revealed that there are two distinct species; one is Angiostrongylus cantonensis which was found to occur in R. norvegicus and R. rattus, the other is a new species, namely, A. mackerrasae, which was found in R. fuscipes in an area of rainforest near Brisbane. Some R. norvegicus in Brisbane also harboured A. mackerrasae. The two species were distinguished by the length of the spicules, relative length and appearance of the postero-lateral ray in the male, the presence of a minute projection at the tip of the tail in the female, length of the vagina and the distance between anus and vulva. The first-stage larvae of the two species were found to be identical. As this species has been found to be the only lungworm in R. fuscipes which is an indigenous Australian rat, it is suggested that A. mackerrasae may have originated in the Australian region.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Professor J. F. A. Sprent and Dr L. R. Ash for their advice and encouragement during this study. Special thanks are also due to Miss M. Cremin for her assistance and to Mr H. Lavery for providing specimens from North Queensland. This work was supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare No. A 107023–02.

(Received October 19 1967)

(Revised March 04 1968)