Seasonal dynamics of the fecal excretion of Elaphostrongylus cervi (Nematoda, Metastrongyloidea) first-stage larvae in Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) from southern Spain.

Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos IREC (CSIC-UCLM-JCCM), Ronda de Toledo s/n, 13005, Ciudad Real, Spain.
Parasitology Research (Impact Factor: 2.33). 02/2005; 95(1):60-4. DOI: 10.1007/s00436-004-1255-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Elaphostrongylus cervi (Nematoda, Metastrongyloidea) is an extrapulmonary lungworm of red deer (Cervus elaphus) whose first-stage larvae (L1) require terrestrial gastropods as intermediate hosts. The seasonal pattern of fecal excretion of E. cervi L1 in Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) was monitored during three annual periods (June 2000-May 2003) on a hunting estate from south-central Spain. The lowest rates of mean intensity of fecal L1 were found in summer, whereas no seasonal variation was found for prevalence. Monthly intensity of excretion was positively associated with early rainfall (the next month) rather than with rainfall of the same month. This seasonal rhythm of E. cervi L1 discharge may be the result of parasite adaptation to the seasonal Mediterranean climate and habitat constraints to improve the chance of parasite transmission. We have standardized the sampling period to compare E. cervi L1 infection rates of Iberian red deer populations in Mediterranean Spain, a natural limit of both the parasite and deer historical ranges, for potential use in the assessment of management strategies.

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