Estimation of Ectoparasites in an African Ground Squirrel

  • Jackie Beaumont
  • Alex Beaumont
  • Jane Waterman


Studying the parasites of wildlife necessitates the accurate estimate of ectoparasites of free-ranging animals, often in a field
setting. The objective of this study was to test the relative accuracy of ectoparasite estimate in a rodent species, the Southern
African ground squirrel (Xerus inauris). Estimates of ectoparasites using combing were compared to total counts of ectoparasites on sacrificed animals. Results suggest that our combing method and visual inspection was a reliable method to estimate
flea and lice intensity and abundance for Xerus inauris species. However, differences were found in prevalence of these parasites between estimated and total collected, as the total was 1.5 times that of the estimates. These results demonstrate successful
estimation of parasites in a live small mammal species without requiring anaesthesia.