An Analysis of the Parasites of a Mid-winter Population of the Snowshoe Hare, Lepus americanus, on Insular Newfoundland During a Cyclical Peak

K. E. Bennett, E. M. Baggs, J. R. Finney-Crawley, M. McGrath


A mid-winter sample of 78 Snowshoe Hares (Lepus americanus) was collected during their cyclical peak in population from three eco-regions (Western Newfoundland, North Shore and Avalon Forest) on insular Newfoundland and was examined for the presence of enteric parasites. The length of the hares was significantly shorter in the Avalon Forest Region (n = 27) than those of the Western Newfoundland Region (n = 25) and North Shore Region (n = 26) samples (P ≤ 0.001 and P ≤ 0.003 respectively); however, no significant differences occurred for other morphological measurements. Four species of parasites, two cestodes (Mosgovoyia pectinata and Taenia pisiformis) and two nematodes (Obeliscoides cuniculi and Rauschia triangularis), were recovered. Taenia pisiformis was recovered from the North Shore eco-region only. No other significant differences with respect to their prevalence, intensity, mean intensity, relative density and dispersion between eco-regions were found. Within eco-regions, only R. triangularis showed a significantly higher value (P ≤ 0.027) for males and the prevalence of this species was lower than that previously reported. The occurrence of O. cuniculi was significantly different between the higher weight classes of hares and the prevalence of this species was higher than that previously reported. No trends for multiple infections were noted. The expansion of a new animal species, the Coyote, Canis latrans, to Newfoundland appeared to have had no effect on the diversity of parasites found in the hare.


Lepus americanus; Snowshoe Hare; parasite diversity; cestodes; Mosgovoyia pectinata; Taenia pisiformis; nematodes; Obeliscoides cuniculi; Rauschia triangularis; eco-regions; exotics; insular Newfoundland

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