Parasites of the Tasmanian devil

Di Barton, Vanessa Lee, L. R. Smales, Xiaocheng Zhu, Shokoofeh Shamsi

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract


The Tasmanian devil is an endangered carnivorous marsupial, limited to the islands of Tasmania in southern Australia. The parasites of the Tasmanian devil are understudied. This study aimed to increase the knowledge of the parasite fauna of Tasmanian devils. Ten Tasmanian devils were examined for parasites from northern and southern Tasmania. Nematodes that were collected were morphologically characterised as two separate species: the majority were identified as Baylisascaris tasmaniensis (verified through molecular sequences). The other species was an unidentified oxyurid nematode, collected from a single Tasmanian devil from the northern part of Tasmania. The most commonly encountered parasite was the cestode Anoplotaenia dasyuri. No specimens of Dasyurotaenia robusta were collected. The ectoparasite, Ixodes tasmani, was also found, although only in Tasmanian devils collected from the southern part of Tasmania. The need to undertake more sampling of the parasites of endangered hosts, such as the Tasmanian devil, to assist with a better understanding of their conservation management, is discussed.


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