We compared parasite variation in coyote feces collected in eight urban sites within Calgary, Alberta, to those in six rural sites outside the city limits. Four hundred and sixty fresh fecal samples (< 4 days old) were collected weekly between July 2009 and June 2010. Fecal flotation analysis identified parasites to the level of genus. We calculated parasite richness, diversity, and evenness. Parasite richness was significantly greater in rural than urban sites. Disparities in the parasite community included a significant variation in parasite richness, diversity, and evenness among rural and urban sites. Toxascaris leonina and Cystoisospora spp. were shared among all urban sites, while these species in addition to Taenia-like spp. and Trichuris spp. were shared among all rural sites. Both urban and rural sites yielded evidence of Toxocara canis, Taenia-like spp., and Giardia spp., which are potential zoonotic parasites. Toxocara canis was at highest prevalence in a core urban site, Inglewood Wildlands, which exhibits unique biotic and abiotic characteristics. Factors of exposure to parasites, such as diet, behavior, and environmental factors, are suggested to be most influential on variation in urban and rural coyote parasitism. We suggest coyotes are an important focal species for further research in urban disease ecology, due to the resilient nature of the carnivore and its propensity to co-exist with people and domestic animals.
Watts, Alexander G. and Alexander, Shelley M.
"Community Variation of Gastrointestinal Parasites Found in Urban and Rural Coyotes (Canis latrans) of Calgary, Alberta,"
Cities and the Environment (CATE):
1, Article 11.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol4/iss1/11