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Factors influencing the fecal egg and oocyst counts of parasites of wild European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus (L.) in southern western Australia

Hobbs, R.P., Twigg, L.E., Elliot, A.D. and Wheeler, A.G. (1999) Factors influencing the fecal egg and oocyst counts of parasites of wild European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus (L.) in southern western Australia. The Journal of Parasitology, 85 (5). p. 796.

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Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3285813
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Abstract

Abundance of intestinal parasites was monitored by fecal egg and oocyst counts for samples of wild rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus with different levels of imposed female sterility from 12 populations in southwestern Australia. Differences in egg counts of Trichostrongylus retortaeformis between seasons and age groups were dependent on the sex of the host. Pregnancy may have been responsible for these differences because egg counts were consistently higher in intact females than in females surgically sterilized by tubal ligation. Egg counts for Passalurus ambiguus were influenced by season and host age but there were no differences between sexes or between intact and sterilized female rabbits. No differences were detected in the oocyst counts of the 8 species of Eimeria between male and female rabbits or between intact and sterilized females. Seasonal differences were detected in oocyst counts of Eimeria flavescens and Eimeria stiedai. The overwhelming determinant of coccidian oocyst counts was host age, with 6 species being much more abundant in rabbits up to 4 mo of age. There was a suggestion that egg counts of T. retortaeformis and oocyst counts of several species of Eimeria were reduced in populations where rabbit numbers had been depressed for at least 2 yr, but there was no evidence that short-term variations in rabbit numbers had a measurable effect on parasite abundance.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: American Society of Parasitology
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/17779
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