Lepus corsicanus gastro-intestinal helminths: first report

Open access


Italian hare Lepus corsicanus De Winton, 1898, is a true species living in simpatry with Lepus europaeus in mainland Italy and with Oryctolagus cuniculus in Sicily, where L. europaeus is absent. Up to date, nobody has studied the helminths of this endemic Italian Mammal. Therefore, in order to describe Italian hare gastro-intestinal helminths, gastro-intestinal tract of 29 Italian hares, coming from mainland Italy (#14) and from Sicily (#15) were collected between 1997 and 2009. Twentyfive hares were positive for at least one parasite (86 %). Six parasite species were isolated, 2 cestodes (Cittotaenia pectinata, prevalence 3 %) and Paranoplocephala sp., 3 %) and 4 nematodes (Trichostrongylus retortaeformis, 86 %, Graphidium strigosum, 14 %, Trichuris sp., 10 % and Teladorsagia circumcincta, 7 %). Both Teladorsagia circumcincta circumcincta and Teladorsagia circumcincta trifurcata morphotypes were identified. Comparison with available data regarding L. europaeus and O. cuniculus in Italy is provided. Being not T. circumcincta and Paranoplocephala sp. typical parasites of leporids, a description of the observed specimens is given.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • [1] Alzaga V. Tizzani P. Acevedo P. Ruiz-Fons F. Vicente J. Gortàzar C. (2009): Deviance partitioning of host factors affecting parasitization in the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus). Naturwissenschafte 96: 1157–1168 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00114-009-0577-y

  • [2] Angelici F. M. Luiselli L. (2001): Distribution and status of the Apennine hare Lepus corsicanus in continental Italy and Sicily. Oryx 35: 245–249. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-3008.2001.00182.x

  • [3] Angelici F. M. Randi E. Riga F. Trocchi V. (2008): Lepus corsicanus. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.1. 〈www.iucnredlist.org〉

  • [4] Becklund W. W. Walker M. L. (1971): Nomenclature and morphology of Ostertagia trifurcata Ransom 1907 with data on spicule lengths of five stomach worms of ruminants. J. Parasitol. 57: 508–516 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3277904

  • [5] Bordes F. Langand J. Feliu C. Morand S. (2007): Helminth Communities of an Introduced Hare (Lepus granatensis) and a Native Hare (Lepus europaeus) in Southern France. J. Wildl. Dis. 43: 747–751

  • [6] Bush A. O. Lafferty K. D. Lotz J. M. Shostak A. W. (1997): Parasitology meets ecology on its own terms: Margolis et al. revisited. J. Parasitol. 83 575–583 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3284227

  • [7] Cabon-Raczynska K. (1964): Studies on the European hare. III. Morphological variation of the skull. Acta Theriol. 9: 249–285

  • [8] Canestri Trotti G. Corradini L. Bassi S. (1988): Osservazioni sulle elmintiasi gastrointestinali di lepri delle province di Ferrara e Modena e lepri di importazione. Suppl. Ric Biol Selvaggina 14: 317–321

  • [9] Capelli G. Stancampiano L. dal Colle S. Bozzolan G. Parenti E. Pietrobelli M. (1998): Gastrointestinal parasite community in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and interactions between wild and domenstic ruminants. Parassitologia 40(Suppl. 1): 30

  • [10] Citterio C. V. Caslini C. Milani F. Sala M. Ferrari N. Lanfranchi P. (2006): Abomasal nematode community in an Alpine chamois (Rupicapra r. rupicapra) population before and after a die-off. J. Parasitol. 92: 918–927. DOI: 10.1645/GE-3551.1 http://dx.doi.org/10.1645/GE-3551.1

  • [11] Craig B. H. Pilkington J. G. Pemberton J. M. (2010): Sex ratio and morphological polymorphism in an isolated endemic Teladorsagia circumcincta population. J. Helminthol. 84: 208–215. DOI: 10.1017/S0022149X09990551 http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022149X09990551

  • [12] Dantas-Torres F. Testini G. Digeronimo P.M. Lorusso V. Mallia E. Otranto D. (2011): Ticks infesting the endangered Italian hare (Lepus corsicanus) and their habitat in an ecological park in southern Italy. Exp. Appl. Acarol. 53: 95–102. DOI: 10.1007/s10493-010-9387-3 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10493-010-9387-3

  • [13] Dubinský P. Vasilková Z. Hurníková Z. Miterpáková M. Slamečka J. Jurčík R. (2010): Parasitic infections of the European brown hare (Lepus europaeus Pallas 1778) in south-western Slovakia. Helminthologia. 47: 219–225. DOI: 10.2478/s11687-010-0034-7 http://dx.doi.org/10.2478/s11687-010-0034-7

  • [14] Eira C. Torres J. Miquel J. Vingada J. (2007): The helminth parasites of the wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus and their effect on host condition in Dunas de Mira Portugal. J. Helminthol. 81: 239–246. DOI: 10.1017/S0022149X07727426 http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022149X07727426

  • [15] Erickson A. B. (1944): Helminth infections in relation to population fluctuations in snowshoe hares. J. Wildl. Manage. 8: 134–153 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3796446

  • [16] Giannetto S. Virga A. Baccarani E. M. Canestri Trotti G. (1998): Elminti intestinali in conigli selvatici (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Atti SISVet. 52: 165–166.

  • [17] Gibbons L. M. Khalil L. F. (1982): A key for the identification of genera of the nematode family Trichostrongylidae Leiper 1912. J. Helminthol. 56: 185–233. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022149X00034581

  • [18] Graybill H. W. (1923): A new genus of nematodes from the domestic rabbit. Parasitology. 12: 340–342. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0031182000014827

  • [19] Guberti V. De Marco M. A. Riga F. Cavazza A. Trocchi V. Capucci L. (2000): Virology and species conservation: the case of EBHSV and the Italian hare (Lepus corsicanus De Winton 1898). Proceeding of V International Congress of European Society for Veterinary Virology. 198–199

  • [20] Haukisalmi V. Henttonen H. (2003): What is Paranoplocephala macrocephala (Douthitt 1915) (Cestoda: Anoplocephalidae)? Syst. Parasitol. 54: 53–69. DOI: 10.1023/A:1022141809571 http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/A:1022141809571

  • [21] Haukisalmi V. Wickström L. M. (2005): Morphological characterisation of Andrya Railliet 1893 Neandrya n. g. and Paranoplocephala Lühe 1910 (Cestoda: Anoplocephalidae) in rodents and lagomorphs. Syst. Parasitol. 62: 209–219. DOI: 10.1007/s11230-005-5499-2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11230-005-5499-2

  • [22] Haukisalmi V. (2009): A taxonomic revision of the genus Anoplocephaloides Baer 1923 sensu Rausch (1976) with the description of four new genera (Cestoda: Anoplocephalidae). Zootaxa. 2057: 1–31.

  • [23] Lai M. Arru E. (1969): Trichostrongylidae del coniglio selvatico (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Parassitologia 11: 97–99

  • [24] Leignel V. Cabaret J. Humbert J. F. (2002): New molecular evidence that Teladorsagia circumcincta (Nematoda: Trichostrongylidea) is a species complex. J. Parasitol. 88: 135–140. DOI: 10.1645/0022-3395(2002)088[0135:NMETTC]2.0.CO;2

  • [25] Lichtenfels J. R. Hoberg E. P. (1993): The systematics of nematodes that cause ostertagiasis in domestic and wild ruminants in North America: an update and a key to species. Vet. Parasitol. 46: 33–53. DOI: 10.1016/0304-4017(88)90056-8 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0304-4017(93)90046-P

  • [26] Margolis L. Esch G. W. Holmes J. C. Kuris A. M. Schad G. A. (1982): The use of ecological terms in parasitology. J. Parasitol. 68: 131–133 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3281335

  • [27] Meneguz P. G. Tizzani P. (2004): First report of Obeliscoides cuniculi in European brown hare (Lepus europaeus). Parassitologia. 46(Suppl. 1): 51.

  • [28] Palacios F. (1996): Systematics of the indigenous hares of Italy traditionally identified as Lepus europeus Pallas 1778 (Mammalia: Leporidae). Bonner Zoologische Beiträge. 46: 59–91

  • [29] Palacios F. Orueta J. F. Tapia G. G. (1989): Taxonomic review of the Lepus europaeus group in Italy and Corsica. Abstract of Papers and Poster V International Theriological Congress. 1: 189–190

  • [30] Pierpaoli M. Riga F. Trocchi V. Randi E. (1999): Species distinction and evolutionary relationships of the Italian hare (Lepus corsicanus) as described by mitochondrial DNA sequencing. Mol. Ecol. 8: 1805–1817. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-294x.1999.00766.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-294x.1999.00766.x

  • [31] Poglayen G. Gaglio G. Brianti E. Agretti D. Capelli G. (2002): Monitoraggio sanitario della lepre (Lepus europaeus): la fauna parassitaria. Atti SISVet. 56: 199–200

  • [32] Reiczigel J. Rózsa L. (2005): Quantitative Parasitology 3.0. Budapest.

  • [33] Riga F. Trocchi V. Toso S. (2001): Morphometric differentiation between the Italian hare (Lepus corsicanus De Winton 1898) and European brown hare (Lepus europaeus Pallas 1778). J. Zool. 253: 241–252. DOI: 10.1017/S0952836901000218 http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0952836901000218

  • [34] Saulai M. Cabaret J. (1998): Limited role of lagomorphs (Oryctolagus cuniculus and Lepus capensis) in the dispersion of parasite nematodes of ruminants. Vet. Parasitol. 77: 301–304. DOI: 10.1016/S0304-4017(98)00113-7 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(98)00113-7

  • [35] Sorgi C. Tribulato D. Miccichè A. Billeri F. Gaglio G. Poglayen G. Giannetto S. (2004): A parasitological survey on wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) living in Stagnone Archipelago natural preserve of Trapani Italy. Parassitologia. 46(Suppl. 1): 66.

  • [36] Soulsby E. J. L. (1968): Helminths arthropods and Protozoa of Domesticated Animals. 7th Edition London Baillière Tindall 809 pp

  • [37] Stancampiano L. Battelli G. (2002): Gastrointestinal nematodes of Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra): relationship between host density and parasite community. Parassitologia. 44(Suppl. 1): 176.

  • [38] Stott P. O’Callaghan M. Phillips P. Verbyla A. (2009): The experimental establishment of ruminant nematodes in European hares (Lepus europaeus). Vet. Parasitol. 159: 82–85. DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.10.016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.10.016

  • [39] Stringfellow F. (1972): Comparative morphology of genital cones of Ostertagia from sheep in the United States. J. Parasitol. 58: 265–270. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3278086

  • [40] Stunkard H.W. (1941): Studies on the Life History of the Anoplocephaline Cestodes of Hares and Rabbits. J. Parasitol. 27: 299–325. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3272814

  • [41] Tenora F. Murai É. Vaucher C. (1986): On Andrya Railliet 1893 and Paranoplocephala Lühe 1910 (Cestoda Monieziinae). Parasitol. Hung. 19: 43–75

  • [42] Tizzani P. Lavazza A. Capucci L. Meneguz P.G. (2002): Presence of infectious agents and parasites in wild population of cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) and consideration on its role in the diffusion of pathogens infecting hares. Proceeding of the IV Scientific Meeting of the European Association of Zoo- and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV) joint with the Annual Meeting of the European Wildlife Disease Association (EWDA).

  • [43] Trocchi V. Riga F. (Eds) (2001): Piano d’azione nazionale per la Lepre italica (Lepus corsicanus). Quaderni di Conservazione della Natura 9: 1–108. Ministero dell’Ambiente Istituto Nazionale per la Fauna Selvatica.

  • [44] Zaffaroni E. Manfredi M. T. Citterio C. Sala M. Piccolo G. Lanfranchi P. (2000): Host specificity of abomasal nematodes in free ranging alpine ruminants. Vet. Parasitol. 90: 221–230. DOI: 10.1016/S0304-4017(00)00240-5 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0304-4017(00)00240-5

Journal information
Impact Factor

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.731
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.634

CiteScore 2018: 0.8

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.398
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.554

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 187 125 7
PDF Downloads 84 64 3