Phthiraptera from some wild carnivores in Spain

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Phthiraptera from some wild carnivores in Spain

Jesus Maria Pérez-Jiménez, Maria Desamparados Soler-Cruz, RocIo BenItez-RodrIguez, Isidoro RuIz­ MartInez, Manuel DIaz-López, Francisco PalomaresFernández* and Miguel Delibes-de Castro* Department of Parasitology, University of Granada, 18011, Granada, Spain

*Estación BiolOgica de Doñana, C.S.I.C., Pabellón del Perá, 41013, Seville, Spain

Accepted for publication 27th February, 1989

During 1987 and the first months of 1988, several carnivores were surveyed for ecological studies by means of radio-tracking techniques and in order to identify the ischnoceran species parasitising these animals. The hosts belonged to the following species: Felis pardina, Felis silvestris, Herpestes ichneumon, Genetta genetta, Vulpes vulpes and Metes meles. While no lice were found on the two first species, the remaining ones were parasitised by Felicola (Felicola) inaequalis, Lorisicola (Paradoxuroecus) genettae n. comb., Felicola (Suricatoecus) vulpis and Trichodectes (Trichodectes) melis, respectively. Descriptions of these species are included.

The original description of Feticola (F.) genettae Fresca by Fresca (1924) was inadequate by mod­ em standards, and the most recent full descrip­ tions of the others dealt with in the present study are in Wemeck (1948) which is no longer readily available. For these reasons we have redescribed the species in this paper.

The family Trichodectidae includes 351 phthi­ rapteran species and subspecies, all of which para­ sitize mammals (Lyal, 1985). These share a set of morphological features which distinguish them from other ischnoceran species, such as the pres­ ence of three-jointed antennae and tarsi bearing a single claw.

A few papers on trichodectids have appeared in the Spanish literature. Fresca (1924) described the specimens (a male and a female) collected on a common genet (Genetta genetta) from Northern Spain, and named them Eutrichophilus genettae.

Martin Mateo (1977) studied, amongst other spec­ ies, Trichodectes (T) melis and Felicola genettae. These, together with three more parasites of Musteta nivalis, Felis catus and Canis familiaris, appeared in Cordero del Campillo et a!. (1978) as parasites of carnivores in Spain. Soler eta!. (1989) recorded F (F.) inaequalis in Spain on the basis of three adult females and seven nymphs from a male mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon) from Cór­ doba. In this paper morphological features ex­ hibited by females belonging to this species are briefly summarised.

Nitzsch described the genus Trichodectes in

1818. In 1902 Newmann described two ischno­ ceran species. One of these was T acuticeps, found on a genet in Abyssinia. In 1929 Ewing described the genus Felicola (see Lyal, 1985). Bedford (1932) studied the trichodectid species on several African carnivores, and noted the vari­ ability in the number of abdominal spiracles in these species, questioning the generic significance

of this feature in trichodectids. In this paper, he also described the genus Suricatoecus and de­ signated the male holotype of F. rammei Stobbe,

1913, now a synonym of F. (F.) inaequalis. The genus Lorisicola was described by Bedford in 1936 (Lyal, 1985). Conci (1942) established the subg­ enus Paradoxuroecus (see Lyal, 1985). Werneck (1936, 1948) carried out a large study on lice from mammals. Amongst the species he studied were Trichodectes melis (specimens collected on Meles metes from several European countries, M. ch­ inensis from China and Erinaceus europaeus from Italy), Suricatoecus vulpis (on material from Eu­ rope, India and North America) and Felicola mae­ qualis (specimens collected on species belonging to genus Herpestes). This author considered S. vutpis as an intermediate form between the type­ species of the genera Trichodectes and Felicola. With regard to F genettae, he only made some observations on Fresca’s description as he was unable to examine material belonging to this spec­ ies. F mnaequalis was also studied by other authors (Hopkins, 1948; Emerson & Price, 1972) on Af­ rican material. Emerson (1972) recorded Surica­ toecus vulpis on Vulpesfulva as an American para­ site. Rekasi (1979) found T melis in Hungary. In

1986 Beaucournu & Aubert included T melis and

F vulpis amongst other species in a study of the

Trichodectidae on wild carnivores in France. In

1985 Lyal devised a general key for this lice fam­ ily. In his paper a complete taxonomic history of the Trichodectidae is given. In 1987 this author studies the co-evolution of trichodectid species and their hosts by means of a cladistic analysis.

According to Honacki et at. (1982) the distribu­

tions of hosts on which lice are found are as fol­ lows. Herpestes ichneumon is distributed through­ out Africa, the Middle East as far as southern Turkey and southwestern Liberian Peninsula. Genetta genetta occupies North Africa, Portugal, Spain (including the Balearic Islands) and France (to the west of the Loire and Rhone rivers). Vulpes vulpes is a Holarctic canid distributed throughout Europe, continental Asia (excepting the tundra), northern India, continental Indo­ china, Japan, North Africa and much of North America. Metes meles has a Palaearctic distribu­

tion extending from southern Siberia to Israel. It is also present in China, Korea, Japan, Ireland, Great Britain, Crete and Rhodes.

After noting the relative confusion with regard to the terminology used by the authors consulted (mainly involving the pieces of the copulatory apparatus and gonapophyses), we have adopted that proposed by Lyal (1985).

Materials and methods

A total of 256 lice specimens, including both ad­ ults and juvenile forms, were collected from 38 sampled hosts in southern Spain. An adult male of Herpestes ichneumon was found in Córdoba, and three wildcats (Fells silvestris) came from the Sierra Morena Mountains (Jaen). The remaining host specimens were collected in the Doflana National Park.

The animals were trapped and immobilised be­ fore study. The lice collected were taken to the laboratory and examined as described in Soler et al. (1979).

Cephalic index (Ce. I.)

Cephalic length (Ce. L.) Cephalic width (Ce. W.)
Corporal index (Co. I.)

Total length (To. L.)


Abdominal width (A. W.)

Felicola (Feticola) inaequalis (Piaget, 1880) (Figs

1—4, 16—17)

Type-host: Herpestes ichneumon (L.)
Material studied

45 adult specimens (24 males and 21 females) and

83 nymphs. 15 mongooses were surveyed: 6 males (5 adult and one juvenile) and 9 females (6 adult and 3 immature). Lice were found on 10 of these animals. Almost all lice specimens were found in the ventral zone of the hosts, especially on the axillas and the inguinal regions.







. Description

Head pentagonal (Fig. 1). Clavi more prominent in males than in females. Male antennae more robust with scape markedly developed with re­ spect to remaining articles, and flagellum bears 3 non-articulated teeth. Female antennae fihiform. Thorax shows no important variations from other ischnoceran species.

Abdomen piriform in males and oval in fe­

males; bears 3 pairs of respiratory spiracles on segments 111—V. Fig. 2 shows abdominal tergites; in male, those corresponding to segments V and VI are divided into anterior and posterior plates. Male copulatory apparatus (Fig. 3) bears charac­ teristic endophallus with large number of spines. Parameres long and robust, with tapered end. Mesomeres thin and curved, in some cases fusing apically. Female genital region as depicted in Fig.

4. Gonapophyses long, thin and curved with

acuminate posterior ends; each one of these has inner lobe bearing 3 setae. Subgenital lobe not bifurcate in its terminal region and appears


Table I presents biometric data from the speci­

mens studied.

Lorisicola (Paradoxuroecus) genettae (Fresca,

1924) n. comb. (Figs 5—8, 18—19) Type-host: Genetta genetta (L.).

Material studied

Three adult specimens (one male and 2 females)

collected from the dorsal region of a genet.
This is a small sized species (Table I). Shape of head similar in both sexes, with exception of front­ al region, which is straight in males and rounded in females (Fig. 5). Antennal flagellum in male bears 2 non-articulated teeth. Occipital region shows characteristic sinuous shape (Fig. 5). Spir­ acles absent on oral abdomen. Tergites as shown in Fig. 6. In males, tergites of segments hI—Vu

­ Ia





o t—

ci c b .

. I

0 0 0 0 0 .E .E

; . .



zEZZ a


FIG. 7

Figs 5—8. Lorisicola (Paradoxuroecus) genettae. 5. Head: a, male; b, female; V, ventral; D, dorsal. 6. Abdominal tergites: a, male;

b, female. 7. Male genital apparatus. 8. Female genital region.


150 jim

Figs 9—12. Felicola (Suricatoecus) vulpis. 9. Head: a, male; b, female; V, ventral; D, dorsal. 10. Abdominal tergites: a, male; b, female. 11. Male genital apparatus. 12. Female genital region.

appear divided into anterior and posterior plates. Copulatory apparatus as shown in Fig. 7. Meso­ meres fused apically. Median extension of meso­ meral arch present. Male gonopore surrounded by spicular patch. Parameres triangular and acuminate.

Fig. 8 illustrates chaetotaxy and morphology of female genital region. In inner lobe of gonapo­ physes several setae of different length are in­ serted. Subgenital lobe clearly divided posteriorly, bearing overlapping scales.


Lorisicola (Paradoxuroecus) genettae can be dis­ tinguished from L. (P.) acuticeps by the curved exterior margins of the parameres, the shape of the abdominal tergites and the overall shape of the abdomen.

Felicola (Suricatoecus) vulpis (Denny, 1842) (Figs

9—12, 20—21)

Type-host: Vulpes vulpes (L,).
Material studied

Four adult specimens (one male and 3 females) and 10 nymphs from a fox. Five of these canids were sampled. Lice were found on both dorsal and ventral regions of the host body.


Head shape similar in both sexes (Fig. 9). Frontal margin straight, although osculum appears slightly more marked in females. Antennae filiform in both sexes. In males no teeth seen on flagellum. In occipital region small lateral protuberances pre­ sent near temples. Mesothoracic spiracles larger than those in other species studied. Abdomen with 3 pairs of spiracles. Fig. 10 illustrates shape of abdominal tergites. Male abdomen ends in ter­ minal protuberance (as simple lobe). Copulatory apparatus (Fig. 11) with narrow basal apodeme; mesomeres narrow, curved, fusing to form struc­ ture which surrounds anterior portion of param­ eres dorsally; parameres long and narrow. Female

genital region (Fig. 12) with characteristic chaeto­ taxy. Subgenital lobe bifurcate and rectangular posteriorly. Gonapophyses often bear 4 setae.

In Table I biometric data from the material

studied are shown.

Trichodectes (Trichodectes) melis (Fabricius,

1805) (Figs 13—15, 22—23) Type-host: Meles metes (L.).

Material studied

Two adult badgers were sampled, a male and a female. Lice were connected from both animals:

66 adult forms (18 males and 48 females) and 55

nymphs. Practically all body regions on the hosts were occupied by these ectoparasites.


Head characteristically shaped (Fig. 13), being more angular in male, mainly at level of temples. In this sex antennae strongly developed, with flag­ ellum bearing 4 teeth. In both sexes head wider than long with clear osculum. Abdomen lightly sclerotized in both sexes and nearly round in shape. Abdomen with 6 pairs of spiracles. In males rectangular protuberance seen at posterior end of abdomen. Copulatory apparatus as shown in Fig. 14 with long parameres. Endophallus bears typical spinulation. In Fig. 15 both chaetotaxy and sclerotization of female genital region are shown. Presence of tuberculate setae in inner anterior margin of gonapophyses also visible.

Table I gives the biometric data of this species.

The subgeneric determinations used herein follow those of Lyal (1985). The differentiating features of Felicola (Felicola) and F (Suricatoecus) can be summarized as follows:

(1) In Felicola, non-articulated teeth on the male antennal flagellum, numbering 1, 2, 3 or 4 if pre



Figs 13—15 Trichodectes (Trichodectes) melis. 13. Head: a, male; b, female; V, ventral; D, dorsal. 14. Male genital apparatus. 15. Female genital region.

sent; and in Suricatoecus, 1 or 3 teeth articulated basally to the flagellum, or teeth absent.

(2) Gonapophysial lobe never rectangular in Feli­

cola; in Suricatoecus sometimes rectangular.

(3) In both subgenera, subgenital lobe can be bifid. If bifid, margins are sometimes rectangular in Suricatoecus, but never in Felicola.

(4) The number of abdominal spiracles may be a



0 2SOjjm

Figs 16—19. 16. Felicola (Felicola) inaequalis. Male. 17. F. (F) inaequalis. Female. 18. Lorisicola (Paradoxuroecus) genettae. Male.

19. L. (P.) geneuae. Female.

differential feature between these taxa: 0, 2 or 3 (=Felicola geneuae) is inadequate in that it in Felicola, and 0, 1 or 3 in Suricatoecus. doesn’t provide sufficient information on features (5) In Suricatoecus, abdominal tergites never ap- with taxonomic importance, such as the shape of pear divided into anterior and posterior plates. the abdomina) tergites. The female “abdominal Fresca’s description of Eutrichophilus genettae appendages” (gonapophyses) are described as


Figs 20—23. 20. Felicola (Suricaroecus) vulpis. Male. 21. F. (S.) vulpis. Female. 22. Trichodectes (Trichodectes) melis. Male. 23. T. (T.) melis. Female.

long, thin and curved. The copulatory apparatus is described as follows: basal plate wide; with margins convex, slightly curved, poorly thick­ ened and bearing a large number of short and

thick teeth. Parameres long and angulate at level of their insertion. There is an “V”-shaped hypo. mere”. The last structure described is the apically­ fused mesomeres (mesomeral arch). These

specific morphological features, as well as the shape of head and abdomen in both sexes. coin­ cide with those exhibited by our specimens.

Further details of this species are given by Mar­

tin Mateo (1977): head pentagonal, abdominal tergites present, abdominal spiracles absent, pres­ ence of a lobe in the inner margin of the gonapo­ physes. and marked sexual dimorphism with re­ gards to antennae; photographs are also included. The specimens collected by us on Genetta genetta agree with Martin Mateo’s description and are similar to those appearing in the photographs. Although not conclusive, this evidence has led us to identify our specimens as Lorisicola (Paradox­ uroecus) genettae. This new combination is sup­ ported by the following features: the presence of a median extension on the mesomeral arch (never found in Felicola), a spicular patch surrounding the male gonopore and a female subgenital lobe with overlapping scales (never found in Felicola) (Lyal, 1985).

With regard to the subgenus Trichodectes, the

following features are worth pointing out: two or four basally articulated teeth on the male antennal flagellum, abdominal pleurae without projections and tergites generally unsclerotised.


This work has been supported by the Comisión

Asesora de Investigacion CientIfica y Técnica.

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