The Prevalence of Endoparasitic Helminths of the Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) on the Island of Puerto Rico
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The small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus; hereafter mongoose) has been widely introduced to islands around the world as a biological control agent. Species targeted for control were various rodents and venomous snakes. Follow-up research has been conducted on the role of the mongoose as a potential reservoir of diseases that might affect man and economically important animals. However, most of previous studies have focused on detecting rabies and leptospirosis, with reports of endoparasitic helminths being largely incidental. From 22 May to 12 August, 2015 I trapped mongooses from several sites on Puerto Rico and conducted standard necropsy techniques to survey for endoparasitic helminths in the viscera. My examinations of gastrointestinal tracts yielded two species of nematodes and one acanthocephalan. Skrjabinocapillaria caballeroi was found infecting 65 percent of mongoose stomachs while Physaloptera spp. were recovered from 18 percent of gastrointestinal tracts. Oncicola venezuelensis was recovered from the greater and lesser omenta, fascia of the skin and muscle, tissues of the small intestine, and the coronary ligaments of the liver and diaphragm of 36.6 percent of examined mongooses.