Skip to main content Accessibility help

Parasitic helminths of the wild rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, in different bioclimatic zones in Tenerife, Canary Islands

  • P. Foronda (a1), A. Del Castillo (a1), N. Abreu (a1), E. Figueruelo (a1), J. Piñero (a1) and J.C. Casanova (a2)...


Faunistic and ecological analyses of the wild rabbit helminth fauna were undertaken in Tenerife island (Canary Islands). Rabbits were collected between 1998 and 2000 in seven bioclimatic zones in Tenerife selected by orientation and altitude. Five parasite species were identified, three cestodes (Taenia pisiformis (larvae), Andrya cuniculi and Mosgovoyia ctenoides) and two nematodes (Trichostrongylus retortaeformis and Passalurus ambiguus). Taenia pisiformis presented an irregular distribution with significant differences in prevalences between the zones. Andrya cuniculi was only found in two zones and there were no significant differences in prevalence values. Mosgovoyia ctenoides presented a wide distribution with significant prevalences, which were higher in northern compared to southern zones. Trichostrongylus retortaeformis was absent in the low southern zones of the island. Passalurus ambiguus was found in all zones with no significant difference in the prevalence of infection. The differences in prevalences are likely to be explained by abiotic factors in the case of T. retortaeformis, and by the absence of definitive and intermediate hosts in the case of T. pisiformis and A. cuniculi, respectively. All parasite species in Tenerife are common helminths in the Iberian Peninsula, from which their rabbit hosts originated. No significant differences were recorded in the mean intensities of infection of any of the parasite species identified.


Corresponding author

*Fax: 0034 922 31 85 14 E-mail:


Hide All
Allan, J.C., Craig, P.S., Sherington, M.T., Rogan, M.T., Storey, D.M., Heath, S. & Iball, K. (1999) Helminth parasites of the wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus near Malham Tarn, Yorkshire, UK. Journal of Helminthology 73, 289294.
Bernard, J. (1965) Contribution à la connaissance de la faune parasitaire de lìle de Zembra. I. Parasites du lapin, Oryctolagus cuniculus L. Archives de l'Institut Pasteur de Tunis 42, 205223.
Beveridge, I. (1978) A taxonomic revision of the genera Cittotaenia Riehm, 1881, Ctenotaenia Railliet, 1893, Mosgovoyia Spassky, 1951 and Pseudocittotaenia Tenora, 1976 (Cestoda: Anoplocephalidae). Mémoires du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, série A, Zoologie 107, 64.
Biju-Duval, C., Ennafaa, H., Dennebouy, N., Monnerot, M., Mingotte, F., Soriguer, R., El Gaied, A., El Hili, A. & Mounolou, J.C. (1991) Mitochondrial DNA evolution in lagomorphs: origin of systematic heteroplasmy, organization of diversity in European rabbits. Journal of Molecular Evolution 33, 92102.
Blasco, S., Torres, J., Feliu, C., Casanova, J.C., Miquel, J. & Moreno, S. (1996) The helminth fauna of Oryctolagus cuniculus (Linnaeus, 1758) in the Iberian Peninsula. Faunistic and ecological considerations. Parasite 4, 327333.
Boag, B. (1987) The helminths parasites of the wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus and the brown hare Lepus capensis from the Isle of Coll, Scotland. Journal of Zoology 2126, 352355.
Boag, B. (1988) Observations of the seasonal incidence of myxomatosis and its interactions with helminth parasites in the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Journal of Wildlife Diseases 24, 450455.
Boag, B. & Fowler, P.A. (1988) The prevalence of helminth parasites from the hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus in Great Britain. Journal of Zoology 215, 379382.
Boag, B. & Iason, G. (1986) The occurrence and abundance of helminth parasites of the mountain hare Lepus timidus (L.) and the wild rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus (L.) in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Journal of Helminthology 60, 9298.
Branco, M., Ferrand, N. & Monnerot, M. (2000) Phylogeography of the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in the Iberian Peninsula inferred from RFLP analysis of the cytochrome b gene. Heredity 85, 307317.
Bush, A.O., Lafferty, K.D., Lotz, J.M. & Shostak, A.W. (1997) Parasitology meets ecology on its own terms: Margolis et al. revisited. Journal of Parasitology 83, 575583.
Butler, F.T. (1994) Arthropod and helminth parasites from rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus in south-west Ireland. Irish Naturalists Journal 24, 292295.
Casanova, J.C., Miquel, J., Fons, R., Molina, X., Feliu, C., Mathias, M.L., Torres, J., Libois, R., Santos-Reis, M., Collares-Pereira, M. & Marchand, B. (1996) On the helminth fauna of wild mammals (Rodentia, Insectivora and Lagomorpha) in Azores Archipelago (Portugal). Vie et Milieu 46, 253259.
Cordero del Campillo, M., Castañón, L. & Reguera, A. (1994) Índice-catálogo de Zooparásitos Ibéricos. 650 pp. 2nd edn. Secretariado de Publicaciones, Universidad de León, Spain.
Denegri, G.M. (1991) Definition of Scientific Research Programme in Parasitology: about the biology of tapeworms in the Anoplocephalidae family. Thesis in Philosophy of Science, Department of Philosophy, La Plata University, 164.
Denegri, G.M. (1993) Review of oribatid mites as intermediate hosts of tapeworms of the Anoplocephalidae. Experimental and Applied Acarology 17, 567580.
Foronda, P., Del Castillo, A., Piñero, J. & Casanova, J.C. (2000) Helminths and virus infections of wild rabbit in Tenerife (Canary archipel). Acta Parasitologica 45, 176.
Hardy, C., Callou, C., Vigne, J.D., Casane, D., Dennebouy, N., Mounolou, J.C. & Monnerot, M. (1995) Rabbit mitochondrial DNA diversity from prehistoric to modern times. Journal of Molecular Evolution 40, 227237.
Hugot, J.P., Bain, O. & Cassone, J. (1983) Sur le genere Passalurus (Oxyuridae: Nematoda) parasite de Leporidés. Systematic Parasitology 25, 10651075.
Juan, C., Emerson, B.C., Oromí, P. & Hewitt, G.M. (2000) Colonization and diversification: towards a phylogeographic synthesis for the Canary Islands. Tree 15, 104109.
Kharichkova, M.V. (1946) A study of the biology of Passalurus ambiguus (Rud., 1819). Collected Papers in Helminthology dedicated to K.I. Skrjabin in his 40th year of scientific education administration. Archiev, 274279.
Michel, J.F. (1952) Self cure infections of Trichostrongylus retortaeformis and its causation. Nature 169, 881.
Michel, J.F. (1953) Phenomenon of protection in infections of Trichostrongylus retortaeformis. Nature 173, 312.
Molina, X., Casanova, J.C., Feliu, C & Castién, E. (1998) Studies of wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) populations in Navarra (Spain). III. Qualitative and quantitative composition of the rabbit parasitic helminthofauna. Gibier Faune Sauvage Game Wildlife 15, 123133.
Molina, X., Casanova, J.C. & Feliu, C. (1999) Influence of host weight, sex and reproductive status on helminth parasites of the wild rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, in Navarra, Spain. Journal of Helminthology 73, 221225.
Monnerot, M., Casane, D., Hardy, C. & Vigne, J.D. (1994) Evolution of Oryctolagus: relationships within the Lagomorpha system and access to population history by ancient DNA. Polish Ecological Studies 20, 543551.
Prasad, D. (1959) The effect of temperature and humidity on the free-living stages of Trichostrongylus retortaeformis. Canadian Journal of Zoology 37, 305316.
Skrjabin, K.I., Shikhobalova, N.P. & Schluz, R.S. (1954) Trichostrongylids of animals and man. In Skrjabin, K.I.(Ed.) Essentials of nematodology, Vol. III, 704 pp. Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem.
Tenora, F. & Murai, E. (1978) Anoplocephalidae (Cestoda) parasites of Leporidae and Sciuridae in Europe. Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 24, 415429.
Tenora, F., Murai, E., Valero, A. & Cutillas, C. (1981/1982) Anoplocephaloides pseudowimerosa sp. n. and other Anoplocephalidae (Cestoda) parasites of Oryctolagus cuniculus (Leporidae) in Spain. Parasitologia Hungarica 14, 7377.
Valladares, B., Gijón, H. & López-Román, R. (1985) Estudio epidemiológico del parasitismo intestinal del perro (Canis familiaris), en la isla de Tenerife. Revista Ibérica de Parasitología 45, 4148.
Verster, A. (1969) A taxonomic revision of the genus Taenia Linneaus, 1758 s. str. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 36, 358.


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