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Comparison of the intestinal helminth community of the large Japanese field mouse (Apodemus speciosus) between urban, rural, and natural sites in Hokkaido, Japan

Anders, Jason L., Nakao, Minoru, Uchida, Kenta, Ayer, Christopher G., Asakawa, Mitsuhiko, Koizumi, Itsuro
Parasitology international 2019 v.70 pp. 51-57
Apodemus speciosus, ecological function, ecosystems, helminths, humans, intestines, land cover, mice, species richness, urban parks, wildlife, zoonoses, Japan
Anthropogenic ecosystem modification has affected over 80% of the global land cover. Interest in its effects on wildlife has been growing over the past several decades, specifically in regard to biodiversity and ecosystem function. Parasites are of particular interest, because they directly impact animal health, and can be transmitted to humans through the process of zoonosis. However, most studies so far tended to focus on only one or two parasites with few looking at the entire community, thereby limiting our understanding of the effects of ecosystem modification on parasitic organisms. In this study, we estimated the intestinal helminth diversity and species richness of the large Japanese field mouse (Apodemus speciosus), as well as the prevalence and abundance of each species in two modified ecosystems, a rural agricultural area and an urban park. We then compared them to a natural area to see how they have been altered. We found that diversity, prevalence, and abundance were all highly altered within both modified ecosystems, but generally to a greater degree within the urban park. However, there was great variation in the direction and degree of response of each helminth species, suggesting that generalized trends may be difficult to ascertain. Furthermore, it is important to analyze the entire helminth community, because interspecific interactions and the effect that ecosystem modification has on them may help determine what species persist.