Abstract

We studied patterns of variation in cestode communities of 3 abundant rodent species that live in sympatry in the Niayes of the Retba Lake, Western Senegal. We evaluated whether the host species have the same parasites and, within host species, whether the variability in parasite community is related to intrinsic (sex, age of the host individual) or extrinsic (habitat, season) factors. Arvicanthis niloticus was parasitized by 2 cestode species, namely Inermicapsifer madagascariensis and the highly dominant Raillietina trapezoïdes. Raillietina baeri was the only cestode species found in Mastomys erythroleucus, and there was no cestode in M. huberti. Prevalence and abundance levels of cestodes were very high in A. niloticus, especially in adults. Seasonal and habitat effects were found in both cestode communities of M. erythroleucus and A. niloticus. Local host specificity and abundance/prevalence levels suggested variations in the interaction between rodents and cestode intermediate host species among habitats and seasons.

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