Skip to main content Accessibility help

Intestinal helminths of spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus dimidiatus) from St Katherine's Protectorate in the Sinai, Egypt

  • J.M. Behnke (a1), C.J. Barnard (a1), N. Mason (a1), P.D. Harris (a1), N.E. Sherif (a2), S. Zalat (a2) and F.S. Gilbert (a1)...


Spiny mice, Acomys cahirinus dimidiatus, inhabiting the wadis close to St Katherine in the mountains of the Sinai peninsula, were trapped and their helminth parasites were studied. Sixty one mice provided faeces for analysis and 27 were killed and autopsied. Six species of helminths were recorded (the spirurid nematodes, Protospirura muricola (74.1%) and Mastophorus muris (11.1%), the oxyuroid nematodes, Dentostomella kuntzi (59.3%), Aspiculuris africana (3.7%), and Syphacia minuta (3.7%) and the hymenolepidid cestode Rodentolepis negevi (18.5%)). The spirurids were the dominant species present, accounting for up to 0.87% of total host body weight. Analysis of worm weights and lengths suggested that transmission had been taking place in the months preceding our study. No sex difference in the prevalence or abundance of spirurids was detected. Significant differences were identified in the abundance of total nematode burdens and the mean helminth species richness between the three wadis which provided multiple captures of mice. There was also a marked effect of host age on both parameters. A highly significant positive correlation between spirurid egg counts and total worm biomass indicated that non-invasive techniques based on egg counts could be used to quantify worm burdens and when this technique was applied to a larger sample size (n = 61), a significant difference between sites but no host sex or age effects were detected for spirurid faecal egg counts. The data suggest that there are differences between helminth component communities infecting spiny mice in different neighbouring wadis, a hypothesis which will be explored further through our continuing studies in the Sinai.


Corresponding author

*Fax: 0115 951 3252 E-mail:


Hide All
Abu-Madi, M.A., Behnke, J.M., Lewis, J.W. & Gilbert, F.S. (1998) Descriptive epidemiology of Heligmosomoides polygyrus in Apodemus sylvaticus from three contrasting habitats in south-east England. Journal of Helminthology 72, 93100.
Ashour, A.A. (1980) Ultrastructural and other studies on intestinal nematodes of small mammals from Egypt. PhD thesis, Ain Shams University, Cairo Egypt.
Ashour, A.A. & Lewis, J.W. (1982) The morphology of Dentostomella kuntzi (Nematoda: Oxyuroidea) from Egyptian rodents. Journal of Helminthology 56, 159168.
Bangs, E.E. (1985) Occurrence of the nematode Protospirura muris in Alaskan Northern red-backed voles, Clethrionomys rutilus. Canadian Field Naturalist 99, 386388.
Baylis, H.A. (1928) On a collection of nematodes from Nigerian mammals (chiefly rodents). Parasitology 20, 280304.
Boggs, J.F., McMurray, S.T., Leslie, D.M. Jr., Engle, D.M. & Lochmiller, R.L. (1991) Influence of habitat modification on the community of gastrointestinal helminths of cotton rats. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 27, 584593.
Campos, M.Q. & Vargas, M.V. (1977) Biologia de Protospirura muricola Gedoelst, 1916 y Mastophorus muris (Gmelin, 1790) (Nematoda: Spiruridae), en Costa Rica. I. Huespedes intermediarios. Revista de Biologia Tropical 25, 191207.
Campos, M.Q. & Vargas, M.V. (1978) Biologia de Protospirura muricola Gedoelst, 1916 y Mastophorus muris (Gmelin, 1790) (Nematoda: Spiruridae), en Costa Rica. II. Huespedes definitivos. Revista de Biologia Tropical 26, 199211.
Chabaud, A.G. (1975) Keys to the genera of the Order Spirurida Part 2. Spiruroidea, Habronematoidea and Acuarioidea. in Anderson, R.C., Chaubaud, A.G. & Willmott, S.M. (Eds ) CIH Keys to the nematode parasites of vertebrates. Farnham, UK, Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux.
Chitwood, B.G. (1938) The status of Protospirura vs Mastophorus with consideration of the species of these genera. Livro Jubilar do Professor Lauro Travassos, Rio de Janeiro, pp. 115118.
Cram, E.B. (1926) A new nematode from the rat, and its life history. Proceedings of the US National Museum 68, 17.
Dyer, W.G. & Olsen, O.W. (1967) Biology of Mastophorus numidica (Seurat 1914) Read and Millemann, 1953 (Nematoda: Spiruridae) with description of juvenile stages. Proceedings of the Helminthological Society of Washington 34, 98103.
Elliott, J.M. (1977) Some methods for the statistical analysis of samples of benthic invertebrates. Cumbria, UK, Freshwater Biological Association.
Erhardova-Kotrla, B. & Daniel, M. (1970) Parasitic worms of small mammals from the region of the mountain regions of the Eastern Hindu Kush. Folia Parasitologica 17, 201216.
Foster, A.O. & Johnson, C.M. (1938) Protospirurosis, a new nematode disease of captive monkeys. Journal of Parasitology 24, 32.
Foster, A.O. & Johnson, C.M. (1939) A preliminary note on the identity, life cycle and pathogenicity of an important nematode parasite of captive monkeys. American Journal of Tropical Medicine 31, 265277.
Gilbert, F., Willmer, P., Semida, F., Ghazoul, J. & Zalat, S. (1996) Spatial variation in selection in a plant-pollinator system in the wadis of Sinai, Egypt. Oecologia 108, 479487.
Greenberg, Z. (1969) Helminths of mammals and birds of Israel I. Helminths of Acomys spp. (Rodentia, Murinae). Israel Journal of Zoology 18, 2538.
Grundman, A.W. (1957) Nematode parasites of mammals of the Great Salt Lake Desert of Utah. Journal of Parasitology 43, 105112.
Haukisalmi, V., Henttonen, H. & Tenora, F. (1988) Population dynamics of common and rare helminths in cyclic vole populations. Journal of Animal Ecology 57, 807825.
Hobbs, J.J. (1995) Mount Sinai. Austin, Texas, University of Texas Press.
Johnson, M.J., Behnke, J.M. & Coles, G.C. (1996) Detection of gastrointestinal nematodes by a coproantigen capture ELISA. Research in Veterinary Science 60, 712.
Keymer, A.E. & Slater, A.F.G. (1987) Helminth fecundity: density dependence or statistical illusion?. Parasitology Today 3, 5658.
Kirschenblatt, J.D. (1938) Die Gesetzmaessigkeiten der Dynamik der Parasitenfauna bei den maeuseaehnlichen Nagetieren (Muriden) in Transkaukasien. Dissertation, University of Leningrad, pp. 592 (in Russian with German summary).
Kisielewska, K. (1970) Ecological organization of intestinal helminth groupings in Clethrionomys glareolus (Schreb.) (Rodentia). V. Some questions concerning helminth groupings in the host individuals. Acta Parasitologica Polonica 17, 197208.
Kuntz, R.E. & Myers, B.J. (1968) Helminths of vertebrates and leeches taken by the U.S. naval medical mission to Yemen, Southwest Arabia. Canadian Journal of Zoology 46, 10711075.
Lewis, J.W. & D'Silva, J. (1980) Rhythmic egg deposition by the oxyurid nematode Syphacia muris in the rat. Journal of Zoology 191, 429433.
Montgomery, S.S.J. & Montgomery, W.I. (1990) Structure, stability and species interactions in helminth communities of wood mice Apodemus sylvaticus. International Journal for Parasitology 20, 225242.
Murphy, M.F. (1952) Ecology and helminths of the Osage wood rat, Neotoma floridana osagensis, including the description of Longistriata neotoma n.sp. (Trichostrongylidae). American Midland Naturalist 48, 204218.
Myers, B.J. (1954) Helminth parasites of reptiles, birds, and mammals of Egypt. I. Streptopharagus kuntzi sp. nov., from rodents, with a review of the genus. Canadian Journal of Zoology 32, 366374.
Myers, B.J. (1961) Helminth parasites of reptiles, birds and mammals of Egypt. VI. Dentostomella kuntzi n.sp. a new oxyurid nematode from Acomys spp. Canadian Journal of Zoology 39, 5557.
Myers, B.J., Kuntz, R.E. & Wells, W.H. (1962) Helminth parasites of reptiles, birds, and mammals in Egypt. VII. Check list of nematodes collected from 1948 to 1955. Canadian Journal of Zoology 40, 531538.
Ow-Yang, C.K. (1971) Studies on the nematode parasites of Malaysian rodents. I. The Rhabdiasidea, Trichuridea and Oxyuridea. Journal of Helminthology 45, 93109.
Phillipson, R.F. (1974) Intermittent egg release by Aspiculuris tetraptera in mice. Parasitology 69, 207213.
Quentin, J.C. (1966) Oxyures de Muridae africains. Annales de Parasitologie 41, 443452.
Quentin, J.C. (1969) Cycle biologique de Protospirura muricola Gedoelst 1916 (Nematoda: Spiruridae). Annales de Parasitologie 44, 485504.
Quentin, J.C. (1970) Morphogenese larvaire du spiruride Mastophorus muris (Gmelin, 1790). Annales de Parasitologie 45, 839855.
Rausch, R. & Tiner, J.D. (1949) Studies on the parasitic helminths of the North Central States. II. Helminths of voles (Microtus spp.). Preliminary report. American Midland Naturalist 41, 665694.
Scharff, A., Barus, V., Tenora, F. & Burda, H. (1993) Head morphology of Protospirura muricola (Nematoda: Spiruridae) and its taxonomic importance. Helminthologia 30, 163167.
Scharff, A., Burda, H., Tenora, F., Kawalika, M. & Barus, V. (1997) Parasites in social subterranean Zambian mole-rats (Cryptomys spp., Bathyergidae, Rodentia). Journal of Zoology 241, 571577.
Shogaki, Y., Mizuno, S. & Itoh, H. (1972) On Protospirura muris (Gmelin) a parasitic nematode of the brown rat in Nagoya City. Japanese Journal of Parasitology 21, 2838.
Tubangui, M.A. (1931) Worm parasites of the brown rat (Mus norvegicus ) in the Philippine islands, with special to those forms that may be transmitted to human beings. The Philippine Journal of Science 46, 537589.
Walther, B.A., Cotgreave, P., Price, R.D., Gregory, R.D. & Clayton, D.H. (1995) Sampling effort and parasite species richness. Parasitology Today 11, 306310.
Wertheim, G. (1963) Helminth parasites of the rat Rattus norvegicus from Haifa and Tel-Aviv. Bulletin of the Research Council of Israel 10E, 125129.
Wertheim, G. & Greenberg, Z. (1970) Notes on helminth parasites of myomorph rodents from southern Sinai. Journal of Helminthology 44, 243252.
Willmer, P., Gilbert, F., Ghazoul, J., Zalat, S. & Semida, F. (1994) A novel form of territoriality: daily paternal investment in an anthrophorid bee. Animal Behaviour 48, 535549.
Zalat, S. & Gilbert, F. (1998) A walk in Sinai: St Katherine to Al Galt Al Azraq (The Blue Pool). Cairo, Egypt, El Haramen Press.

Intestinal helminths of spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus dimidiatus) from St Katherine's Protectorate in the Sinai, Egypt

  • J.M. Behnke (a1), C.J. Barnard (a1), N. Mason (a1), P.D. Harris (a1), N.E. Sherif (a2), S. Zalat (a2) and F.S. Gilbert (a1)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed