Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 February 2007
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.