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Endoparasites of the European hare (Lepus europaeus) (Pallas, 1778) in central Italy

Sergi, V., Romeo, G., Serafini, M., Torretta, E., Macchioni, F.
Helminthologia 2018 v.55 no.2 pp. 127-133
Andrya, Coccidiomorphea, Dicrocoelium dendriticum, Lepus europaeus, Passalurus, Protostrongylus, Trichostrongylus, body weight, breeding, endoparasites, farms, hares, intestines, liver, lungs, parasitoses, Italy
Brown hare (Lepus europaeus) populations in Europe have declined through decades due to several, but not clear yet, factors. Parasite infections and diseases are some of the causes that directly affected the survival and breeding rates of animal population. A study on the endoparasites of 70 hares (37 hunted free-living hares, and 33 bred on farms hares) was performed between 2015 - 2017 in the province of Grosseto (central Italy), an area where the impact of parasites in the hare population has never been investigated. During necroscopic analysis of hunted hares the following helminthes were found: Trichostrongylus retortaeformis (87.1 %), Passalurus ambiguus (12.9 %) and Andrya spp. (6.4 %) in the intestinal tract, Protostrongylus cuniculorum (8.3 %) in lungs and Dicrocoelium dendriticum (16.7 %) in livers. The prevalences of the intestinal helminthes in bred hares were: 12.1 % for Passalurus ambiguus and 3 % for Trichostrongylus retortaeformis. The coprological analysis showed prevalences of 64.9 % for coccidia in the 37 hunted hares and 45.5 % in the 33 bred hares. The relationship between the intensities of parasitic infections and body weight was evaluated. The results of the present study in the Grosseto area indicate that free-living hares have few species of parasites and that the intensities of parasitic infection did not affect their general condition and health, suggesting that endoparasites played no detectable role in the dynamics of this hare population.