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Open Access Research article

Patterns in abundance and diversity of faecally dispersed parasites of tiger in Tadoba National Park, central India

Rahul R Marathe1, Shantanu S Goel2, Sachin P Ranade1, Maithili M Jog1 and Milind G Watve12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology, Abasaheb Garware College, Karve Road, Pune 411 004, India

2 Life Research Foundation 10, Pranav, 1000/6-c Navi Peth, Pune 411 030, India

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BMC Ecology 2002, 2:6  doi:10.1186/1472-6785-2-6

Published: 8 May 2002

Abstract

Background

Importance of parasites in ecological and evolutionary interactions is being increasingly recognized. However, ecological data on parasites of important host species is still scanty. We analyze the patterns seen in the faecal parasites of tigers in the Tadoba National Park, India, and speculate on the factors and processes shaping the parasite community and the possible implications for tiger ecology.

Results

The prevalence and intensities were high and the parasite community was dominated by indirect life cycle parasites. Across all genera of parasites variance scaled with the square of the mean and there was a significant positive correlation between prevalence and abundance. There was no significant association between different types of parasites.

Conclusions

The 70 samples analyzed formed 14 distinct clusters. If we assume each of the clusters to represent individual tigers that were sampled repeatedly and that resident tigers are more likely to be sampled repeatedly, the presumed transient tigers had significantly greater parasite loads than the presumed resident ones.