Ectoparasites on meso-carnivores in the desert-steppe of Mongolia

Tserendorj Munkhzul, James D. Murdoch, Richard P. Reading

Abstract


Studying flea community structure on wild carnivores is important for identifying flea vectors for potential infectious diseases and providing information needed to design programs for human and wildlife health. We collected ectoparasites from 4 species of meso-carnivores in an arid Desert-steppe ecosystem of Mongolia. We captured four meso-carnivore species, including corsac fox (V. corsac, n = 7), red fox (Vulpes vulpes, n = 4), Asian badger (Meles leucurus, n = 4), and Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul, n = 4), and recorded 207 fleas representing 14 species from 7 genera of 4 families, and 2 ticks from 1 species. We collected 86 fleas (6 species) from corsac foxes, 89 fleas (6 species) from red foxes, 14 fleas (5 species) from badgers, and 18 fleas (8 species) from Pallas’s cats. The flea community was dominated by two species (Pulex irritans, Chaetopsylla homoeus), which accounted for 72% of all ectoparasites collected. Pulex irritans was the most common species on corsac and red foxes, and Paraceras melis was the most common species on badgers. Three species were most commonly collected on Pallas’s cats, including Pulex irritans, Paraceras melis, and Chaetopsylla appropihquans. Among fleas, 8 species occurred only on a single meso-carnivore species, 1 species occurred on two meso-carnivore species, and 5 species occurred on 3 meso-carnivore species. The tick, Dermacentor nuttalli only occurred on corsac fox and badger. Our results provide baseline information on the associations of fleas and ticks with wild carnivores that represent potential vectors of disease, which can inform disease management strategies in Mongolia


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ISSN 1684 (print edition), ISSN 2225-4994 (online edition)