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Impact of the degree of urbanization on composition and structure of helminth communities in the Mongolian racerunner (Eremias argus) Peters, 1869

  • Z.N. Dugarov (a1), D.R. Baldanova (a1) and T.R. Khamnueva (a1)

Abstract

The effects of the degree of urbanization on the composition and mean abundance of helminth species and the structure of helminth communities in the Mongolian racerunner were investigated along a rural–urban gradient in the region of Ulan-Ude city (the Republic of Buryatia, Russia) and neighbouring rural districts. Racerunners were obtained from key areas and categorized into three grades based on the degree of urbanization. In this study, a total of 208 lizards were examined. The helminth communities in the Mongolian racerunner were studied at the infracommunity and component community levels. The nematode Spauligodon pseudoeremiasi was a sensitive bioindicator of the degree of urbanization in our study. All parameters of helminth infracommunities in the Mongolian racerunner were significantly reduced with increasing degree of urbanization of the key areas. Two parameters of helminth component communities (the proportion of hosts infected with parasites and the Shannon index) were significantly reduced with increasing degree of urbanization. The decline recorded in parameters of helminth infracommunities and component communities in the Mongolian racerunner were probably connected with the attenuation of the relationships between helminths, having a complex life cycle with intermediate hosts along the rural–urban gradient.

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