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The study of intestinal parasite communities is an important aspect of conservation biology, disease ecology, and wildlife health. Researchers can use the presence of select micro-and macro-parasites as an indicator of host health. Only two studies have sampled intestinal parasites in free-ranging Aotus monkeys despite their wide geographic distribution in Central and South America. We therefore conducted a survey of gastrointestinal parasites using 50 fecal samples from seven free-ranging black-headed night monkey (Aotus nigriceps) groups at three field sites in the Peruvian Amazon. We calculated an index of habitat quality using Gentry transects and compared this with parasite communities. We recovered seven intestinal parasite taxa: Strongyloides sp., Balantioides sp., Trypanoxyuris sp., Entamoeba sp., unidentified species of ascarid, strongylid, and trematode. Two of these taxa have previously been described in captive A. nigriceps (Balantioides sp. and Strongyloides sp.). Parasite richness ranged 0-5 taxa with a mean of 0.8 parasite taxa (±1.0 SD) per fecal sample. Fifty-six percent of samples had at least one intestinal parasite taxon. We found all seven parasite taxa in the wet season but only Strongyloides sp. and Trypanoxyuris sp. in the dry season. Balantioides sp. was positively associated with both Entamoeba sp. and an unidentified trematode, while Entamoeba sp. was positively associated with the unidentified ascarid (p<0.05). Extrapolations support the likelihood of recovering additional intestinal parasite taxa with increased sampling effort. Neither group size nor basal area was significantly associated with parasite richness. These results highlight the need for continued surveillance of Aotus parasites both temporally and across heterogeneous landscapes because several of the parasite taxa we found are pathogenic in nonhuman primates and people.
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Intestinal Parasitism in Free-Ranging Black-Headed
Night Monkeys, Aotus nigriceps,
of Southeastern Peru
William D. Helenbrook
1,2
&Audrey Nelson
3
&Kelsey L. Paras
4
&
Brenda Solorzano-Garcia
5
Received: 9 November 2019 /Accepted: 13 February 2020
#Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020
Abstract
The study of intestinal parasite communities is an important aspect of conservation biology,
disease ecology, and wildlife health. Researchers can use the presence of select micro- and
macroparasites as an indicator of host health. Only two studies have sampled intestinal
parasites in free-ranging Aotus monkeys despite their wide geographic distribution in Central
and South America. We therefore conducted a survey of gastrointestinal parasites using 50
fecal samples from seven free-ranging black-headed night monkey (Aotus nigriceps) groups
at three field sites in the Peruvian Amazon. We calculated an index of habitat quality using
Gentry transects and compared this with parasite communities. We recovered seven intestinal
parasite taxa: Strongyloides sp.; Balantioides sp.; Trypanoxyuris sp.; Entamoeba sp.; and
unidentified species of ascarid, strongylid, and trematode. Two of these taxa have previously
been described in captive Aotus nigriceps (Balantioides sp. and Strongyloides sp.). Parasite
richness ranged from zero to five taxa with a mean of 0.8 parasite taxa (±1.0 SD) per fecal
sample. Fifty-six percent of samples had at least one intestinal parasite taxon. We found all
seven parasite taxa in the wet season but only Strongyloides sp. and Trypanoxyuris sp. in the
dry season. Balantioides sp. was positively associated with both Entamoeba sp. and an
unidentified trematode, while Entamoeba sp. was positively associated with the unidentified
ascarid (P< 0.05). Extrapolations support the likelihood of recovering additional intestinal
parasite taxa with increased sampling effort. Neither group size nor basal area was signifi-
cantly associated with parasite richness. These results highlight the need for continued
surveillance of Aotus parasites both temporally and across heterogeneous landscapes because
several of the parasite taxa we found are pathogenic in nonhuman primates and people.
Keywords Neotropical.Nocturnal pathogensurveillance .Primateconservation .Wildlife
health
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-020-00146-7
Handling Editor: Joanna M. Setchell
*William D. Helenbrook
wdhelenb@syr.edu
Extended author information available on the last page of the article
International Journal of Primatology (2020) 41:458470
/Published online: 10 March 2020
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
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