Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

The first record of ectoparasites of raccoons (Procyon lotor) (Carnivora, Procyonidae) in Iran.

Abstract

The raccoon, Procyon lotor, is native to North and Central America but has been introduced to several Old World countries including Iran. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of ectoparasites of raccoons in Iran. During 2015-2017, a total of 30 feral raccoons were collected from Guilan Province, northern Iran. The fur of raccoons was examined for the presence of ectoparasites. The collected ectoparasites were preserved in 70% ethanol and microscopically and morphologically identified. In total, 11 fleas and 244 ixodid ticks were collected from 18 (60%) raccoons for the first time in Iran. Two raccoons (6.7%) harbored just fleas, five raccoons (16.7%) both fleas and ticks and 11 raccoons (36.7%) just ticks. Two species of fleas: Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea) and Pulex irritans (human flea) were collected from seven raccoons (23.3%). Four species of ixodid ticks: Haemaphysalis concinna, Ixodes ricinus, Rhipicephalus sanguineus and R. turanicus were collected from 16 raccoons (53.3%). All ectoparasites, except for cat flea, were found on raccoons for the first time. The prevalence, mean abundance and mean intensity of ectoparasites and the indices of affinity, association and diversity were calculated. The pair of species H. concinna/I. ricinus showed significant association and the infestation with I. ricinus in cubs was significantly higher than in adults (P < 0.05). The medical importance of zoonotic infections transmittable by raccoons and their ectoparasites is discussed. The investigation of different possible vector-borne infections in raccoons and their ectoparasites in the study area is suggested.