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Parasite prevalence, abundance, and diversity in a semi-free-ranging colony of Mandrillus sphinx

By Joanna M. Setchell, Issa-Ben Bedjabaga, Benoit Goossens, Patricia Reed, E. Jean Wickings and Leslie A. Knapp


We examined parasite prevalence, abundance of protozoan cysts and helminth eggs in the feces, and number of parasitic taxa in a population of mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) in semi-free-ranging conditions in their habitat range, with respect to the annual cycle, sex, age, dominance rank, and female reproductive status. We identified 3 taxa of amebic protozoa (Entamoeba coli, E. histolytica/dispar complex, and Endolimax nana), 1 ciliate protozoa (Balantidium coli), and various nematodes. Prevalence ranged from 1 observation in 874 samples for Trichuris and Mammomonogamus (nematodes) to 100% for Entamoeba coli and Endolimax nana. Daily observation, consistency of fecal samples, and periodic veterinary examination indicated that the mandrills were all healthy, suggesting that the presence of intestinal parasites in the provisioned population is well tolerated. Parasite prevalence, abundance in the feces, and number of taxa varied significantly across the annual cycle. Nematode egg prevalence and abundance were lowest during the dry season. We found no sexual difference and no influence of female dominance rank on parasitic infections. Nematode prevalence increased significantly with age in females, but not in males. There was no influence of age on prevalence of other taxa, abundance in the feces, or number of taxa. Abundance of nematode eggs in the feces was higher in pregnant than in lactating or cycling females. However, births are seasonal in the mandrill colony, and pregnant females were present during the months when nematode egg abundance was also higher in males, suggesting that this may be an influence of climatic seasonality in addition to, or instead of, female status

Topics: Q Science (General)
Publisher: Springer
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s10764-007-9225-6
OAI identifier: oai:
Provided by: ORCA
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