We conducted fecal egg counts of gastrointestinal parasites of 2 critically endangered primates endemic to the forest of Tana River, Kenya. We aimed to use the fecal egg counts as proxies to quantify the prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites between the 2 primates. The Tana River red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus) and crested mangabey (Cercocebus galeritus) are of similar body size, but their behavioral ecology is very different. We predicted that mangabeys would have a higher prevalence of parasites because they are mostly terrestrial omnivores, live in larger social groups, and therefore range widely. We detected 10 nematodes and 3 protozoans in mangabeys and 7 nematodes and 2 protozoans in colobus. We detected a higher number of different parasite species in individual mangabeys, and 4 of the 5 nematodes requiring intermediate hosts were found in mangabeys. The overall prevalence of parasites was higher for mangabeys, but this difference was not statistically significant. For colobus, we found a trend whereby the number of different parasite species in individual monkeys was higher in males and in lactating females. However, there was no difference in the prevalence of parasites between the sexes or between lactating and nonlactating females.

You do not currently have access to this content.