Three nematodes, Turgida turgida, Cruzia americana, and Didelphostrongylus hayesi, have been documented to cause morbidity and mortality in the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana). The present study was designed to determine the frequency of infection of these nematodes in opossums at 2 study sites in California and to determine if there are risk factors associated with shedding of eggs or larvae in the feces. Turgida turgida and C. americana adults were found in 84.4% (stomach; n = 45) and 62.5% (intestinal wash and feces; n = 16) of sampled opossums. Eggs were present in opossum feces (n = 105) less frequently (40% T. turgida and 35.2% C. americana). Didelphostrongylus hayesi larvae were found in 79.0% of opossum feces examined (n = 105). Adult age and wet season (December through April) were significant predictive factors for the presence of T. turgida eggs, whereas the dry season (May through November) was significantly associated with the presence of C. americana eggs in feces. Adult opossums were more likely to have eggs and larvae from all 3 nematodes in the feces.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics