The water rat Nectomys squamipes is endemic in Brazil and found naturally infected with Schistosoma mansoni. Helminth communities, their prevalences, intensity of infection and abundance in N. squamipes in an endemic area of schistosomiasis in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil were studied. Four species of nematodes (Physaloptera bispiculata, Syphacia venteli, Hassalstrongylus epsilon and Litomosoides chagasfilhoi) were recovered in 85.3%, two trematodes (Schistosoma mansoni and Echinostoma paraensei) in 38.8% and one cestode species (Raillietina sp.) in 1.7% of rats examined. Rats were infected with up to five helminth species each, and these were highly aggregated in distribution. For H. epsilon and S. venteli, intensities and abundances were higher in adult male and subadult female hosts, respectively. Hassaltrongylus epsilon, P. bispiculata, S. venteli and S. mansoni were classified as dominant species, L. chagasfilhoi and E. paraensei as co-dominant and Raillietina sp. as subordinated. No significant correlation was found in the intensity of infecton between each pair of helminth species. Schistosoma mansoni was not related to any other helminth species according to their infection rates, althougth S. mansoni was well established in the natural helminth comunity of the water rat.
(Accepted May 31 2006)