Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Primate Behavior

Committee Chair

April Binder

Second Committee Member

Kara Gabriel

Third Committee Member

Andrea Baden


Ecological factors, such as feeding behavior and climatic seasonality, might influence intestinal parasite infection and patterns in non-human primates. Here, we examined if frugivory levels and climate (i.e., temperature and rainfall) were associated with parasite patterns in black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata). Feeding data using 5-min focal sampling, climate data, and fecal samples from V. variegata (n = 23) at the “Mangevo” site were collected from February through May 2019. Microscopic examinations of fecal flotation and sedimentation were done to identify and count parasites. Nematoda (Callistoura vauceli, and Strongyloides sp.) Ciliophora (Balantidium sp.), Coccidia (Eimeria sp.), and Amoebozoa (Entamoeba sp.) were identified in fecal samples with Balantidium sp. and nematodes being the most prevalent. Non-parametric Wilcoxon signed-rank tests showed significant differences between March and May for the percentage of frugivory, parasite species richness, larval nematode counts, Callistoura vauceli and Strongyloides sp. egg counts, minimum and maximum temperature, and average rainfall (Ws≥ 57, Ps< 0.05). Spearman correlations conducted on data from March through May revealed that larval nematode counts were negatively correlated with frugivory and with minimum temperature (r = - 0.346 and - 0.353, respectively, Ps< 0.05). Callistoura vauceli egg count was negatively correlated with maximum and minimum temperatures (r = - 0.347 and - 0 .461, Ps< 0.05). There was a trend for lower minimum temperatures to be associated with increases in parasite species richness (r = - 0.277, Ps = 0.08). Temperature and frugivory played an important role in parasite infection, particularly in larval nematode counts.

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