The Influence of Agricultural and Urban Contamination on Leech Infestation of Freshwater Turtels, Phrynops Geoffroanus, taken from Two Areas of the Uberabinha River
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- de Campos Brites, V.L. & Rantin, F.T. Environ Monit Assess (2004) 96: 273. doi:10.1023/B:EMAS.0000031733.98410.3c
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Infestation by leeches on adult freshwater turtles Phrynops geoffroanus in two areas of the Uberabinha River, in Uberlândia, was investigated during the summer (January 2000). Fifty eightturtles were trapped: 26 (12 males, 14 females) in an agricultural areaand 32 (16 males, 16 females) in an area with a more urban environment. The females present larger length and body mass (291.77 ± 29.18 mm; 2233.30 ± 511.40 g) than males (259.71 ± 33.15 mm; 1488.68 ± 529.35 g). Blood samples were drawn from the retrorbitalsinus using heparinized micro-hematocrit capillary tubes, formicroscopic and direct examination for intracellular parasites.Ectoparasitism by leeches, Placobdella bistriata, on young and adult animalswas observed in the limb cavities of 28.1% of the urban areaturtles. No leeches were found on the turtles in the agricultural area.Hemogregarineerythrocytic gametocytes were found in 15.4% of theagricultural areaturtles, and in 37.5% of the urban area turtles. Concurrentparasitismby leeches and hemogregarines on the same individuals was seen on six turtles. Infections with microorganisms (bacteria and fungus)facilitatedby the bites of leeches were not observed in another study onthe same sample of infested turtles. However, 19% of the turtlescollected in the agricultural area and 15% of the turtles from the urban area presented normocytic acute anemia. The occupation of the soilapparently interfered in the aquatic ecosystem favoringparasitism in the urban area.