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Tracking year-to-year changes in intestinal nematode communities of rufous mouse lemurs (Microcebus rufus)


While it is known that intestinal parasite communities vary in their composition over time, there is a lack of studies addressing how variation in component communities (between-hosts) manifests in infracommunities (within-host) during the host lifespan. In this study, we investigate the changes in the intestinal parasite infracommunities in wild-living rufous mouse lemurs (Microcebus rufus) from Ranomafana National Park in southeastern Madagascar from 2010 to 2012. We used high-throughput barcoding of the 18S rRNA gene to interrogate parasite community structure. Our results show that in these nematode communities, there were two frequently occurring putative species and four rarer putative species. All putative species were randomly distributed over host individuals and they did not occur in clear temporal patterns. For the individuals caught in at least two different years, there was high turnover of putative species and high variation in fecal egg counts. Our study shows that while there was remarkable variation in infracommunities over time, the component community was relatively stable. Nevertheless, the patterns of prevalence varied substantially between years in each component community.

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* Corresponding author. Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 56, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland. E-mail:
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