Twenty-eight hog-nosed skunks (Conepatus leuconotus), 23 striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), and nine spotted skunks (Spilogale gracilis) from an area of sympatry in west-central Texas were examined for helminth parasites. Shared helminth species among all three host species were one nematode (Physaloptera maxillaris), two acanthocephalans (Pachysentis canicola, Macracanthorhynchus ingens), and one cestode (Mathevotaenia mephitis). Two nematodes (Gongylonema sp. and Filaria taxidaea) occurred in both the striped and hog-nosed skunks. One nematode (Filaroides milksi) and one acanthocephalan (Oncicola canis) were collected only from C. leuconotus. The most common helminth infections for striped and hog-nosed skunks were P. maxillaris and P. canicola. Helminth species richness was highest in hog-nosed skunks, but striped skunks had the highest prevalences and intensities of all the common helminth species. The helminth fauna of spotted skunks was markedly depauperate in terms of species richness and helminth abundance compared to the other two host species. Differences in helminth communities across these three sympatric skunks may be related to differences in their relative abundance, behavior, food habits, and geographic range.
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Vol. 42 • No. 3