The influence of five brush management treatments using the herbicides tebuthiuron and triclopyr, with or without prescribed burning, on the intestinal helminth community of cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) was studied in 1987 on the Cross Timbers Experimental Range in Payne County, Oklahoma (USA). Six helminth species were found (Dermatoxys veligera, Trichostrongylus calcaratus, Passalurus nonanulatus, Wellcomia longejector, Taenia pisiformis cystercercus, and Mosgovoyia pectinata americana) in 102 rabbits (88 adult and 14 juveniles) collected over two seasons (winter and summer). Prevalence of M. pectinata americana in cottontail rabbits was significantly greater in untreated control pastures than herbicide treated pastures in winter, while prevalence of T. pisiformis was significantly greater in burned than unburned pastures. Abundances of helminth species in the intestinal tract of cottontail rabbits were unaffected by brush treatments. Mosgovoyia pectinata americana abundance demonstrated a highly significant increase from winter to summer; conversely, abundance of all oxyurid pinworms combined (D. veligera, P. nonanulatus, W. longejector) was significantly higher in winter than summer. Helminth community dynamics were significantly influenced by season, but were unaffected by brush treatments. Habitat modification could have influenced cestode transmission by altering the ecology of invertebrate and vertebrate hosts.
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Vol. 26 • No. 2