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Mammalia

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Volume 78, Issue 1 (Feb 2014)

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A preliminary investigation into the endoparasite load of the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in Ireland

Amy Haigh
  • Corresponding author
  • School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  • School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), The Cooperage, North Mall, Distillery Fields, Cork, Ireland
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  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Joanne O’Keeffe
  • School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
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/ Ruth M. O’Riordan
  • School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
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/ Fidelma Butler
  • School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
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Published Online: 2013-05-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2013-0032

Abstract

The European hedgehog is strictly protected in the Republic of Ireland but has been little studied. Carcasses, such as road kill casualties, can provide valuable information on population demographics, parasite load and general body condition. This study aimed to examine the species of endoparasites present in hedgehogs, their prevalence and intensities and whether differences occurred depending on the age and sex of the hedgehog. Carcasses were collected and examined from around Ireland, over a 3-year period. In 21 of the 23 hedgehogs examined, endoparasites were identified. The nematode species, Crenosoma triatum and Capillaria erinacei were both positively identified. C. striatium was confined to the lungs, whereas C. erinacei was the most prevalent (87%) endoparasite and occurred in the stomach and intestines. There was a significantly higher load of Crenosoma striatum observed in male hedgehogs compared to females, but no significant difference was observed in the intensity of C. erinacei between the sexes. In all tissues, a greater mean endoparasite load was observed in male hedgehogs. Sex differences in exposure or immunity to parasitism could be related to the males’ larger home range and the effects of oestrogen levels on immunity.

Keywords: Capillaria erinacei; Crenosoma striatum; Erinaceus europaeus; Ireland; prevalence

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About the article

Corresponding author: Amy Haigh, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork, Cork, Ireland ; and School of Biological , Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), The Cooperage, North Mall, Distillery Fields, Cork, Ireland, e-mail:


Received: 2013-02-22

Accepted: 2013-04-16

Published Online: 2013-05-16

Published in Print: 2014-02-01


Citation Information: mammalia, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2013-0032.

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