Male-biased gastrointestinal parasitism in a nearly monomorphic mountain ungulate

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Abstract

Background: Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica) is a nearly monomorphic mountain ungulate with an unbiased sex-specific overwinter adult survival. Few differences in gastrointestinal parasitism have been reported by coprology as yet. This study aims to assess diversity, prevalence, intensity of infection and aggregation of gastrointestinal nematodes in male and female adult chamois. We expect no differences in the parasite infection rates between sexes. Findings: Gastrointestinal tracts of 28 harvested Pyrenean chamois in the Catalan Pyrenees (autumn 2012 and 2013) were necropsied and sexual differences in the diversity and structure of parasite community, prevalence, intensity of infection, and richness were investigated. We found 25 helminth species belonging to 13 different genera. Conclusions: Contrary to our expectations, male chamois showed different parasite communities, higher prevalence, intensity of infection and richness than females. Such sexual differences were clear irrespective of age of individuals. Hence, male chamois must cope with a more diverse and abundant parasite community than females, without apparent biological cost. Further research will be required to confirm this hypothesis.

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Martínez-Guijosa, J., Martínez-Carrasco, C., López-Olvera, J. R., Fernández-Aguilar, X., Colom-Cadena, A., Cabezón, O., … Serrano, E. (2015). Male-biased gastrointestinal parasitism in a nearly monomorphic mountain ungulate. Parasites and Vectors, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-015-0774-9

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