Endoparasites of European Brown Hare (Lepus Europaeus) from Southern Poland Based on Necropsy

Sławomir Kornaś 1 , Izabela A. Wierzbowska 2 , Marek Wajdzik 3 , Jerzy Kowal 1 , Marta Basiaga 1  and Paweł Paweł Nosal 1
  • 1 Department of Zoology and Ecology, University of Agriculture in Krakow, al. Mickiewicza 24/28, 30-059 Kraków, Poland
  • 2 Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków, Poland
  • 3 Department of Natural and Cultural Heritage, Animal Ecology and Wildlife Management, University

Abstract

The population of the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus) has been declining for the last decades in many European countries, including Poland. The goal of this study was to determine the level of endoparasite infection among hares. In 2007-2010, 83 animals were examined postmortem. The animals were weighed and analysed according to age and sex. During the dissection only the following nematodes were noticed: Trichostrongylus retortaeformis, Strongyloides papillosus, Trichuris leporis and Passalurus ambiguus in the intestinal tract and Protostrongylus pulmonalis in lungs. Body mass of hares was analysed with a general linear model (GLM) with age, sex, and presence/ absence of nematode infection as factors. The proportion of infected and uninfected hares with protozoan coccidia was compared with Fisher exact test for 2×2 contingency tables, whereas the proportion of nematode infection was compared by χ2 test. There was a significant difference in the proportion of hares infected and not infected by coccidia with the higher proportion of infected juvenile individuals (P=0.010), whereas there was no difference between males and females (P=0.41). The frequencies of hares infected vs. not infected by nematodes did not differ between sex (χ2=1.89, P=0.168) and age (χ2=0.0007, P=0.97). The mean body mass of all hares was 4.15 kg±0.40 kg. GLM model conducted for body mass of hares showed that there was a significant difference only between juvenile and adult hares (F=24.225, P=0.000005) and no significant association between the level of endoparasite infection and sex

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