The coati (Nasua nasua, Carnivora) is a medium-sized mammal common in the Pantanal of Brazil. Unlike most mammals, coatis construct arboreal nests used for resting and reproduction. In this region, the coati is an important host of Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease. There are two possible routes through coatis can be infected by T. cruzi: the oral route or the vectorial route. However, the relative importance of each of these routes in the infection of coatis and its role in the sylvatic cycle of the parasite are unknown. Our objectives were to investigate: (i) whether coati nests were infested by triatomine bugs, (ii) what species were frequent in the nests, (iii) whether the triatomines in nests were infected by T. cruzi, and (iv) what were the food resources of these triatomines. Eight of the 24 nests sampled were infested with triatomines, a total of 37 specimens of at least two species (Rhodnius stali and Triatoma sordida). In one nest, R. stali and T. sordida co-occurred and both fed on multiple resources, including coatis. This is the first report of triatomines occurring in arboreal nests of coatis. The co-occurrence of two different genera of triatomine vectors and coatis within the limited space of the coati nests provide multiple opportunities for the exchange of the protozoan parasite through both the vectorial and oral transmission routes.
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Vol. 40 • No. 2