The dilemma of conserving parasites: the case of Felicola (Lorisicola) isidoroi (Phthiraptera: Trichodectidae) and its host, the endangered Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus)
- Parasites are essential elements in healthy natural ecosystems. Also, they constitute most of the world's biodiversity. Therefore, they deserve to be conserved together with their hosts.
- The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) is the most endangered felid in the world because it only survives in two isolated populations in the Iberian Peninsula, with no more than 300 free-ranging individuals.
- Felicola (Lorisicola) isodoroi is a louse exclusively parasitic on the Iberian lynx, and it appears to be scarcer and therefore more endangered than its host.
- Current management activities devoted to the conservation of the Iberian lynx, such as reproduction in captivity for restocking, could compromise the survival of its louse species.
- In this article we revise the ectoparasites of the Iberian lynx and discuss their potential role for transmission of pathogens.
- Also, we propose measures which could enhance the survival of F. (L.) isidoroi.