ENDOPARASITES OF THE EASTERN ROCK SENGI (ELEPHANTULUS MYURUS) FROM SOUTH AFRICA

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Abstract

The endoparasite fauna of the eastern rock sengi (Elephantulus myurus Thomas and Schwann) was studied for the first time for any sengi species from September 2007 until August 2008 in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. From the 121 sengis examined, we recovered 11 endoparasite taxa, including 9 nematodes, 1 cestode family (Hymenolepididae), and 1 pentastomid species (Armillifer armillatus (Wyman, 1834)). The overall endoparasite prevalence was high, at 100%, and largely attributable to the nematode Maupasina weissiSeurat, 1913, with only a single individual being parasite free. Despite the high diversity, species richness was low (1.58 ± 0.06) and only M. weissi and spiruroid larvae occurred at a prevalence exceeding 8%. The abundance of M. weissi varied significantly between seasons and was lowest in summer and autumn. In contrast, the abundance of spiruroid larvae remained relatively constant across seasons in males, but was significantly higher in spring and summer compared to winter in females. These patterns may be generated by an accumulation of M. weissi with age as well as sex-specific seasonal shifts in diet. An updated list on the hosts and geographic range of parasites of sengis is provided.

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