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16 August 2019 Helminth Community Structure of the Gray Four-Eyed Opossum Philander opossum (Mammalia: Didelphidae) in the Neotropical Portion of Mexico
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Abstract

Studies on helminth communities associated with didelphids are scarce; the majority of works have focused at taxonomic level. To increase the ecological knowledge of these host–parasite associations, during March (dry season) of 3 consecutive years (2013–2015) a total of 49 adults of the gray four-eyed opossum (Philander opossum) was collected in the Neotropical portion of Mexico (Agua Fría, Chiapas State) and examined for helminths. The main objectives of this study were to describe the infra- and component communities of helminths associated with P. opossum and to compare the helminth fauna of the Mexican population of this host species with those studied in French Guiana and in other Mexican terrestrial didelphids. The helminthological record of this host consisted of 12 species: 7 taxa of Nematoda, 3 of Trematoda, 1 Cestoda, and 1 Acanthocephala. Eight of the 12 taxa have been previously recorded in Didelphidae and 4 represent accidental infections (Glossocercus sp., Stomylotrema vicarium, Spirura mexicana and Acanthocephala gen. sp.). Diet of hosts is the main structuring factor of the communities (92% of the helminth species were recruited through ingestion). Forty-eight hosts were parasitized by at least 1 helminth species; Rhopalias coronatus was the most prevalent and abundant species in the hosts sampled. No significant differences were found in global prevalence among the helminth species present in all samplings, considering host sex and year. The dominance exerted by R. coronatus led to low values of evenness and diversity at both community levels. No significant differences were observed in composition of helminth species among the 3 sampling years regarding sex. The results of our study showed changes in helminth abundance at infracommunity level; during the first sampling these changes are explained by species with direct life cycle (Viannaia sp. and Cruzia tentaculata), whereas in last 2 surveys the explanation can be attributed to species with heteroxenous life cycles (particularly R. coronatus, Duboisiella proloba, and Turgida turgida). Thirty-three percent of the helminth species recorded in P. opossum in Agua Fría is shared with the other 2 terrestrial species of didelphids sampled in different sites of Mexico: Didelphis marsupialis and Didelphis virginiana. In contrast, samples from French Guiana and Agua Fría, differ in terms of helminth fauna, confirming that the helminth communities of opossum species inhabiting the same locality show higher levels of taxonomic similarity than communities of conspecific marsupials allopatrically distributed.

© American Society of Parasitologists 2019
Sara Angélica Ramírez-Cañas, Mario George-Nascimento, Luis García-Prieto, and Rosario Mata-López "Helminth Community Structure of the Gray Four-Eyed Opossum Philander opossum (Mammalia: Didelphidae) in the Neotropical Portion of Mexico," Journal of Parasitology 105(4), 624-629, (16 August 2019). https://doi.org/10.1645/18-195
Published: 16 August 2019
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