Endoparasites of the Iberian wolf (Canis lupus signatus) and mesocarnivores in Central Portugal

Parasitol Res. 2023 Feb;122(2):435-440. doi: 10.1007/s00436-022-07738-7. Epub 2022 Nov 25.


At the end of the nineteenth century, massive population declines were observed in carnivores due to the emergence of infectious diseases. This study aims to investigate, by means of coprological analysis, the prevalence and intensity of the parasites that infect the endangered Iberian wolf Canis lupus signatus and two mesocarnivores (the red fox Vulpes vulpes and the stone marten Martes foina) in Central Portugal. In total, 67.2% of the samples screened were infected; Toxascaris leonina (40.6%) was the parasite with the highest prevalence, followed by Ancylostomatidae and Eimeria spp. (28.1%). Eimeria spp. was found in stone marten with the highest infection rate (37,800 OPG), followed by T. leonina (10,100 EPG) in a red fox sample. Moderate to high levels of parasitic infections were identified in 73.3% of red foxes from the western area. Our results highlight the possibility of cross-infection among these carnivore species and cross-contamination in the wildlife-livestock-human interface.

Keywords: Ancylostomatidae; Eimeria; Iberian wolf; Mesocarnivores; Portugal; Toxascaris leonina.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild
  • Carnivora*
  • Foxes / parasitology
  • Humans
  • Mustelidae* / parasitology
  • Portugal / epidemiology
  • Wolves* / parasitology