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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Age distribution and seasonal dynamics of abomasal helminths in wild red deer from central Spain

Authors
item Santin-Duran, Monica - BELTSVILLE MD
item Alunda, Jose - MADRID SPAIN
item Hoberg, Eric
item DE La Fuente, Concepcion - MADRID SPAIN

Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2007
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
Citation: Santin-Duran, M., Alunda, J.M., Hoberg, E.P., De La Fuente, C. 2009. Age distribution and seasonal dynamics of abomasal helminths in wild red deer from central Spain. Journal of Parasitology. 94:1031-1037.

Interpretive Summary: : A cornerstone for exploring patterns of disease attributable to helminth parasites comes from studies that seek to elucidate patterns of distribution and transmission for complex host-parasites systems. Such studies are critical in understanding the interface between faunas that occur in wild and domestic ruminants. We conducted a study of red deer and their parasites in a biological reserve (Quinto de Mora) in Spain to develop primary data for the distribution of parasites relative to age and sex of hosts and seasonality during an annual cycle. Red deer host a variety of endoparasites, particularly nematodes, and numerous studies have documented helminth biodiversity in European countries with significant populations of this cervid In most cases however, these reports do not provide information on the seasonal dynamics of helminth infections or the variation in abundance, prevalence or diversity in relation age and sex of hosts We conducted the first study carried out on the Iberian Peninsula that provides empirical data and discussion of variation in abomasal helminths during a complete annual cycle among discrete age classes of red deer. A study on age distribution and seasonal dynamics of abomasal helminths in wild red deer was conducted in Central Spain, by monthly samplings of fawns (< 1 yr), subadult (1-2 yr) and adult (> 2 yr) animals. Both intensity and prevalence of abomasal parasitism was higher in older animals, particularly in male red deer. A bimodal pattern for intensity of infection by gastric parasites was observed. Maximum values attained in winter and summer maybe related to variation in climate and the shifting availability of forage resources. The pattern was largely due to the contribution of Spiculopteragia asymmetrica/S. quadrispiculata, whereas the other species found (Ostertagia leptospicularis/O. kolchida and O.drozdzi/O. ryjikovi) occurred with lower prevalence and intensity of infection. Among these ostertagiines, the ratio for major and minor morphotypes of males of respective species and the relative abundance of males and females were stable through the annual cycle. Our current study contributes to a foundation for helminth diversity established through survey and inventory for abomasal nematodes in sympatric red deer and fallow deer from Central and Western Spain. Baselines such as these are critical for understanding the dynamics of parasitism when wild and domestic ungulates share common pasture, and in the context of ecological perturbation associated with climate change.

Technical Abstract: A study on age distribution and seasonal dynamics of abomasal helminths in wild red deer was conducted in Central Spain, by monthly samplings of fawns (< 1 yr), subadult (1-2 yr) and adult (> 2 yr) animals. Both intensity and prevalence of abomasal parasitism was higher in older animals, particularly in male red deer. A bimodal pattern for intensity of infection by gastric parasites was observed. Maximum values attained in winter and summer maybe related to variation in climate and the shifting availability of forage resources. The pattern was largely due to the contribution of Spiculopteragia asymmetrica/S. quadrispiculata, whereas the other species found (Ostertagia leptospicularis/O. kolchida and O.drozdzi/O. ryjikovi) occurred with lower prevalence and intensity of infection. Among these ostertagiines, the ratio for major and minor morphotypes of males of respective species and the relative abundance of males and females were stable through the annual cycle.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014