Lepus corsicanus gastro-intestinal helminths: first report

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Abstract

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.

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