Method for the Rapid Fixation of Gastrointestinal Helminths in Small Mammals

Abstract

Background

Despite being a significant element of biodiversity and playing an important role in their hosts’ physiology, ecology and evolution, parasites remain understudied and are often neglected during biotic surveys and other collection efforts. More often than not, it is due to the perception that parasitological examination requires specialized expertise and substantial additional time to perform.

Results

Herein, we provide an express method for recovery and fixation of endoparasites from the gastrointestinal tract of small mammals that can be used by both parasitologists and vertebrate biologists in either field or laboratory conditions. The method does not require special training beyond minimal practice and does not need optics or other special equipment.

Discussion

Our goal is to encourage collection of endoparasites as part of biotic surveys by vertebrate biologists to provide valuable additional biodiversity information in cases when a traditional complete parasitological examination of hosts is not feasible. We believe that this technique will also be useful for professional parasitologists.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation, USA (grant DEB-1120734) to VVT and the National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (grant 1523410) for SEG.

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Correspondence to Vasyl V. Tkach.

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Tkach, V.V., Hope, A.G. & Greiman, S.E. Method for the Rapid Fixation of Gastrointestinal Helminths in Small Mammals. Acta Parasit. 64, 406–410 (2019). https://doi.org/10.2478/s11686-019-00028-w

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Keywords

  • Small mammals
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Rapid fixation