Abstract

An analysis of gastrointestinal parasites of Ecuadorian mantled howler monkeys, Alouatta palliata aequatorialis, was conducted based on examination of fecal smears, flotations, and sedimentations. At least 1 type of parasite was detected in 97% of the 96 fecal samples screened across 19 howler monkey groups using these techniques. Samples averaged 3.6 parasite species per individual (±1.4 SD). Parasites included species representing genera of 2 apicomplexans: Cyclospora sp. (18% of individual samples) and Isospora sp. (3%); 6 other protozoa: Balantidium sp. (9%), Blastocystis sp. (60%), Chilomastix sp. (4%), Dientamoeba sp. (3%), Entamoeba species (56%), Iodamoeba sp. (5%); 4 nematodes: Enterobius sp. (3%), Capillaria sp. (78%), Strongyloides spp. (88%) which included 2 morphotypes, Trypanoxyuris sp. (12%); and the platyhelminth Controrchis sp. (15%). A statistically significant positive correlation was found between group size and each of 3 different estimators of parasite species richness adjusted for sampling effort (ICE: r2 = 0.24, P = 0.05; Chao2: r2 = 0.25, P = 0.05, and Jackknife: r2 = 0.31, P = 0.03). Two significant associations between co-infecting parasites were identified. Based on the prevalence data, individuals infected with Balantidium sp. were more likely to also be infected with Isospora sp. (χ2 = 6.02, P = 0.01), while individuals harboring Chilomastix sp. were less likely to have Capillaria sp. present (χ2 = 4.03, P = 0.04).

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