Helminth parasites of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes L., 1758) in the Iberian Peninsula: An ecological study
Thirty-four helminth species were obtained from the helminthological analysis of 399 foxes in the Iberian Peninsula. The species found were classified into three groups. Uncinaria stenocephala, Eucoleus aerophilus and Pearsonema plica were classified as core species. The secondary species included Mesocestoides spp., Taenia polyacantha, Toxascaris leonina, Toxocara canis, Angiostrongylus vasorum, Crenosoma vulpis, Pterygodermatites affinis and Physaloptera sibirica. The remainder, including Alaria alata, Brachylaima sp., Metorchis bilis, Opisthorchis felineus, Taenia crassiceps, T. hydatigena, T. taeniaeformis, T. pisiformis, Echinococcus granulosus, Joyeuxiella pasqualei, J. echinorhynchoides, Diplopylidium noelleri, Aonchotheca putorii, Trichuris vulpis, Dirofilaria immitis, Toxocara cati, Ancylostoma caninum, Vigisospirura potekhinae, Molineus patens, M. legerae, Spirocerca lupi, Mastophorus muris and Macracanthorhynchus catulinus were considered as satellite species. A significantly high prevalence of trematodes was found in certain peninsular areas. The most prevalent and abundant cestodes were Mesocestoides spp. Nematodes were the most numerous set of species encompassing several of the most prevalent species. The findings of A. putorii and V. potekhinae constitute new host records for Vulpes vulpes, in the Iberian Peninsula (in the case of the capillariid) and in its entire geographical range (in the case of the spirurid). D. noelleri is also reported for the first time as parasitizing foxes in Europe. The majority of the species found are host generalists and have indirect life cycles. The richness of the helminth community seems to be strongly influenced by the broadness of the alimentary spectrum in different peninsular areas.