First Report of Obeliscoides cuniculi in the European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Abstract

Purpose

Obeliscoides cuniculi is a common parasite in American lagomorphs, while it has never been reported in the European rabbit. The exotic parasite has been introduced in Italy by the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), an invasive alien lagomorph introduced to Europe for hunting purpose. Considering that S. floridanus shares the same areas with the European rabbit, the aim of this work is to document the first report of this parasite in an autochtonous lagomorph.

Methods

O.cuniculi, isolated from one adult European rabbit found dead, was identified considering the morphological features and reproductive organs of the adult stage (length and thickness of the body, spicules structure and size).

Results

The present study represents the first record of the gastric nematode O. cuniculi (Trichostrongilidae) in a population of European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Italy.

Conclusion

Since Graphidium strigosum is the most common parasite infecting the European rabbit stomach, this study considers and discusses different scenarios about helminth co-infection effect. Further studies should be carried out to understand the long-term effect of this introduction on wild rabbit population.

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This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Correspondence to Paolo Tizzani.

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Fanelli, A., Ghirardi, M., Meneguz, P.G. et al. First Report of Obeliscoides cuniculi in the European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Acta Parasit. 65, 787–789 (2020). https://doi.org/10.2478/s11686-020-00203-4

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Keywords

  • Obeliscoides cuniculi
  • Exotic parasite
  • Wild rabbit
  • Eastern cottontail