The excretion of bronchopulmonary nematode infective larvae was evaluated in 160 faecal samples of Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica hispanica) collected from 13 populations in Castilla-La Mancha, south-central Spain in September 2003. Intensities and prevalences were compared with pasture availability, abundances of wild and domestic ungulates at both levels, i.e. for populations and for faeces in a two-step procedure. Protostrongylid larvae showed similar infection rates (mean intensity: 1.56±0.12, n=94; mean prevalence: 25.62±6.86%, n=160) to Dictyocaulus spp. (mean intensity: 1.03±0.11, n=48; mean prevalence: 30.00±7.11%, n=160). At the population level, positive correlations were found between the prevalences of both bronchopulmonary taxa. The prevalence in both groups, but not intensity, also correlated positively with Spanish ibex abundance indexes both for the populations and individual faeces. These findings suggest that: (i) parasite spreading across Spanish ibex populations in Castilla-La Mancha could respond to host density-dependent processes; and (ii) these populations may have similar exposition and/or susceptibility to both bronchopulmonary taxa resulting in similar host–parasite patterns, despite their different life cycles. Bronchopulmonary outputs in the Spanish ibex from Castilla-La Mancha seems not to represent a health risk for this endemic wild ungulate but may be useful in any health surveillance scheme for the increasing populations of Spanish ibex.
(Accepted February 03 2005)