Parasites of free-ranging black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) from Belize and Mexico

Authors

  • Sylvia K. Vitazkova,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, New York
    2. Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Science, New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
    • Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
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  • Susan E. Wade

    1. Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Science, New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
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Abstract

Parasites are important members of the ecological web within which an animal lives, and can be used as indicators of ecosystem health. However, few baseline parasitological data are available for free-ranging animals, particularly for the black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra). In this study a total of 283 fecal samples were collected from 50 individually identified A. pigra during 2003 and 2004 and examined for parasites. The samples were processed using standard quantitative centrifugation concentration techniques, with sugar and zinc sulfate used as flotation media. The slides were examined using bright-field and phase microscopy. Antigen capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) were used to detect protozoa. Four parasites were detected: 1) Controrchis biliophilus (Dicrocoeliidae), 2) Trypanoxyuris minutus (Oxyuridae), 3) Giardia sp. (Hexamitidae), and 4) Entamoeba sp. (Endamoebidae). Controrchis biliophilus was detected in 80% (wet season) and 81% (dry season) of the A. pigra samples; Trypanoxyuris minutus was detected in 8% (wet season) and 27% (dry season) of samples; and Giardia sp. was detected in 40% (wet season) and 27% (dry season) of samples. For the first time, DNA from Giardia sp.-positive fecal samples was extracted from A. pigra.Alouatta pigra individuals that lived near human settlements in Belize were infected with Giardia duodenalis (syn. G. lamblia, G. intestinalis) Assemblages A and B. These results suggest that G. duodenalis is transmitted from people and/or domestic animals to A. pigra. Am. J. Primatol. 68:1089–1097, 2006.© 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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