Acta Theriologica

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 31–42 | Cite as

Natural infections of small mammals with blood parasites on the borderland of boreal and temperate forest zones

  • Grzegorz Karbowiak
  • Leszek Rychlik
  • Wojciech Nowakowski
  • Irena Wita


Blood parasites of small mammals living in Białowieża Forest (eastern Poland) were investigated between 1996 and 2002. The following haemoparasite species were found:Trypanosoma (Herpetosoma) evotomys in bank voleClethrionomys glareolus; T. (H.) microti in root voleMicrotus oeconomus; Babesia microti in root vole;Hepatozoon erhardovae in bank vole andHepatozoon sp. in root vole. Some non-identifiedBartonella species were found in bank vole, root vole, field voleMicrotus agrestis, yellow-necked mouseApodemus flavicollis, common shrewSorex araneus, Eurasian water shrewNeomys fodiens, and Mediterranean water shrewN. anomalus. The prevalence and diversity of blood parasites were lower in shrews than small rodents. Totally, 52.0% of bank voles, 50.0% of root voles, 32.5% of common shrews, and 41.2% of Eurasian water shrews were infected with any of the blood parasites. Mixed infections were seldom observed in bank vole (17.3% of investigated individuals) and root vole (14.7%). No animals were infected with three or four parasites simultaneously. Infection of Białowieża small mammals with haemoparasites seemed to be similar to those described in other temperate forest regions rather than boreal ones. Infection rates of rodent species seem to be higher in their typical habitats: for bank vole it was the highest in mixed forest, whereas for root vole in sedge swamp. The results suggest that Arvicolidae play a greater role than Muridae or Soricidae in maintenance ofBabesia andHepatozoon foci in natural environments of central Europe.

Key words

rodents shrews haematozoa blood parasites primeval forest 


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grzegorz Karbowiak
    • 1
  • Leszek Rychlik
    • 2
  • Wojciech Nowakowski
    • 3
  • Irena Wita
    • 1
  1. 1.W. Stefański Institute of ParasitologyPolish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Mammal Research InstitutePolish Academy of SciencesBiałowieżaPoland
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of PodlasieSiedlce

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