In the USA, the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is a highly endangered felid found only in a few remaining vestiges of native thornshrub brushland in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) of extreme southern Texas. From 1987–1998, carcasses of 15 adult ocelots that died of vehicular accidents or natural causes were examined for helminths. All cats had 1–8 (mean=3) helminth species. All were infected with 1–101 (mean±SE=32±7) Toxascaris leonina. Other helminths from these ocelots were Alaria marcianae, Brachylaima sp., Mesocestoides lineatus, Taenia rileyi, Oncicola canis, Dirofilaria immitis, Physaloptera rara, Ancylostoma tubaeformae, Cylicospirura chevreuxi, Vogeloides felis, and Metathelazia californica. Additionally, two cats had scarring of the aorta with lesions typical of those caused by Spriocerca lupi, although larval nematodes were not seen. A clinal variation in size of nearly three orders of magnitude was noted in the diplostomatid trematodes in the small intestine of one adult male ocelot. Despite the differences in size, all specimens appeared morphologically identical and were regarded as A. marcianae. Helminth prevalences and abundances, including those of potentially pathogenic species like D. immitis, were low. Although a single heartworm infection may have contributed to the death of one ocelot, helminth infections in general seemed to be of no great consequence to this endangered ocelot population. The helminth fauna of ocelots in the LRGV is reflective of that from wild felids in general; all have been reported previously from the bobcat (Lynx rufus) and mountain lion (Puma concolor) elsewhere in Texas.
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Vol. 39 • No. 3