889 complete alimentary tracts were examined for helminths during a two-year survey of sheep and goats in Cyprus. Faecal samples were also examined for worm eggs.
The most common parasites found were Ostertagia and Trichostrongylus spp. and a list of all the parasites and their prevalence is given.
Bunostomum trigonoceplialum, Parabronema skrjabini and Skrjabinema ovis were found for the first time in Cyprus.
The infection rate of each of the worms was studied and the results showed that most of the worms followed the same general pattern, having a peak in the spring and another in the autumn, separated by a trough during the hot dry summer period, when the infection rate yvas low. There were variations within this pattern, Trichostrongylus spp. having a spring peak that was more pronounced than the autumn peak. The reverse occurred with Ostertagia, Chabertia and Oesophagostomum spp., which had a more pronounced autumn peak than spring peak and a lower rate of infection in the summer.
Variations in the infection rate were also noted between the two years of study.
The reasons for these variations are discussed and it appears that weather has some influence on the timing and duration of the peaks but that other factors must also be involved. It is suggested that with some species inhibition of development of the immature stages may occur over the hot dry period, and that these immature worms resume their development towards the end of summer.
A similarity was noticed between the seasonal distribution of the different worm species in Cyprus and in the winter rainfall areas of Australia.