Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Paragonimus westermani and some rare intestinal trematodes recovered from raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus) introduced recently on Yakushima Island, Japan.

Abstract

Helminth parasites were collected from 9 raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides viverrinus) and 2 Japanese weasels (Mustela itatsi sho) on Yakushima Island, Japan. The former carnivore was introduced to this World Natural Heritage Area presumably within the last two decades, expanding its population thence, although detailed process(es) of the introduction is unknown. The collected trematodes from raccoon dogs included the triploid form of Paragonimus westermani, Brachylaima tokudai, Maritrema eroliae, and Pseudocryptotropa sp. Simultaneously, Paragonimus ohirai was found in one weasel killed by a traffic accident. Although the triploid form of P. westermani and P. ohirai are known to be distributed in some river-mouth areas of Yakushima Island based on previous surveys on crab hosts, natural infection was detected for the first time in wild final hosts. Particularly, the raccoon dog infected with P. westermani was caught in a mountainous area, distant from human residence or river-mouth areas. Although it is possible that the infected raccoon dog moved from a river-mouth area endemic with P. westermani after infection, the alternative scenario remains to be pursued; the endemic area of this zoonosis is expanding along with the recent expansion of raccoon dogs or feral cats (Felis catus), that became prevalent recently on this island including the mountainous areas. Maritrema eroliae taking a variety of shorebirds as its natural final hosts, and a minute trematode, Pseudocryptotropa sp., taking unknown natural final host(s) were recorded for the first time in raccoon dogs.