Parasite Prevalence in Lemurs: The Effect of Anthropogenic Disturbance and Natural Stress Factors from a Multi-Scale Perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract

Abstract

Parasite prevalence and associated infectious diseases play an important role in ecological, social and evolutionary processes, but the potential drivers of parasite loads are still unclear. However, several forms of anthropogenic habitat disturbance have been shown to increase parasite prevalence in several animal species. In systems where social primates function as hosts for many parasites species, different interactions are expected. These can be grouped into three levels of social organization: the population, the group and the individual level. On the population level, the parasite prevalence in hosts is higher in more disturbed forest fragments close to villages, compared to less disturbed habitats. From a group perspective, higher parasite prevalence is expected in larger groups and in groups with large daily travel distances and in groups of a lower social rank. On the individual level, higher parasite loads are expected in individuals with a lower body condition, social rank and immune status. We focus on a lemur species (Eulemur rufifrons) as a model organism to explore the general mechanisms of parasite infections and transmission. Methods include the non-invasive sampling of focal animal behaviour and collecting and analysing faecal samples to assess gastrointestinal parasite prevalence. The association between parasite prevalence and reduced host fitness, combined with the parasites’ potential to spread infectious diseases among wildlife and human populations, underlines the importance of this project from an ecological, a social developmental and a conservation perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication5th Congress of the European Federation for Primatology, 10-13 September 2013, Antwerp, Belgium
EditorsK. d'Aout, J. Stevens
Place of PublicationAntwerpen
PublisherKarger
Pages265-266
Volume84
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event5th Congress of the European Federation for Primatology, Antwerp, Belgium -
Duration: 10 Sep 201313 Sep 2013

Conference

Conference5th Congress of the European Federation for Primatology, Antwerp, Belgium
Period10/09/1313/09/13

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