Parasitology Research

, Volume 111, Issue 5, pp 1907–1912 | Cite as

Tunga penetrans and further parasites in the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) from Minas Gerais, Brazil

  • Raphael Frank
  • Christian Melaun
  • Maria Marlene Martins
  • André Luiz Quagliatto Santos
  • Jörg Heukelbach
  • Sven KlimpelEmail author
Original Paper


The Brazilian savannah-like area, the Cerrado region, covers large areas of the country and provides a habitat for a multitude of different animal species. The giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) is geographically widespread and one of the typical inhabitants of the Cerrado. They are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. A population loss of at least 30 % over the past 10 years has been estimated based on local extinctions, habitat loss and deaths caused by fires, roadkills and hunting. Little is known about ecological and in particular parasitic conditions of this highly specialised insectivore species. During September and November 2010 we examined three roadkilled giant anteater for the presence of metazoan ecto- and endoparasites. Besides the cestode species Oochoristica tetragonocephala and the tick species Amblyomma nodosum, we found for the first time the flea Tunga penetrans. Beside morphological flea species identification, we compared a fragment of the 16S rRNA gene of eggs, a molecular method utilised for the first time in this combination. The identification of T. penetrans in M. tridactyla represents a new host record and expands the host and distribution range of the zoonotic flea species.


Host Record Flea Species Solitary Living Cestode Species Mina Gerais State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Liana Ariza from Universidade Federal do Ceará (Brazil) for the logistic support. Furthermore we like to thank Lina Kurzrock, Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt, to realize molecular species identification. Jörg Heukelbach is research fellow from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq/Brazil). This study was supported by a “Projeto Universal” grant from CNPq. The present study was financially supported by the research funding programme “LOEWE—Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz” of Hesse’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and the Arts.


We declare that the conducted study complies with the Brazilian laws.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raphael Frank
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Christian Melaun
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maria Marlene Martins
    • 4
  • André Luiz Quagliatto Santos
    • 4
  • Jörg Heukelbach
    • 5
  • Sven Klimpel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Medical Biodiversity and ParasitologyBiodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)Frankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN)Frankfurt am MainGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Ecology, Evolution and DiversityGoethe University (GO)Frankfurt am MainGermany
  4. 4.Faculdade de Medicina VeterináriaUniversidade Federal de UberlândiaUberlândiaBrazil
  5. 5.Departamento de Saúde Comunitária, Faculdade de MedicinaUniversidade Federal do CearáFortalezaBrazil

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