Abstract

Although parasites are important regulatory factors in animal populations, basic knowledge on their fauna in many vertebrate taxa is lacking. In particular, parasite infections of primate species have gained little attention. Here, I present data on the gastro-intestinal fauna of a population of wild red-fronted lemurs (Eulemur fulvus rufus; Primates: Lemuriformes) monitored over a total of 8 mo during 2 consecutive field seasons in 2006 and 2007 in Kirindy Forest, western Madagascar. Using fecal samples for parasite analyses, I identified 10 parasite species, including 6 nematodes (Lemuricola vauceli, Trichuris sp., 2 species of Callistoura, 1 trichostrongylid, and 1 strongyloid), 1 anoplocephalid cestode, a dicrocoeliid trematode, as well as 2 protozoans (Entamoeba sp. and Balantidium coli). The population in Kirindy Forest had the highest prevalence and number of parasite species ever recorded for species of lemurs. Additionally, prevalence of some parasite species differed between the social groups studied. These findings lead to 2 conclusions. First, it is important to extend a parasitological study to several social groups of a host population, since groups may differ in parasite fauna as a result of minor microclimatic or habitat parameters, and, second, short-term assessments of lemur health might underestimate the real parasite burden.

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