Differences between chimpanzee and baboon gastrointestinal parasite communities.
Cross-species infection among humans, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and baboons (Papio spp.) is potentially a significant public health issue in Africa, and of concern in the conservation of P. troglodytes. However, to date, no statistical comparisons have been made between the prevalence, richness and composition of parasite communities in sympatric populations of baboons and P. troglodytes. We compared parasite communities in sympatric P. troglodytes and Papio papio living in a wilderness site, in the Republic of Senegal, West Africa. We asked whether, in the absence of humans, there are significant differences between these hosts in their interactions with gastrointestinal parasites. We tested whether host, location, or time of collection accounted for variation in prevalence, richness and community composition, and compared prevalence across six studies. We concluded that, despite being closely related, there are significant differences between these two hosts with respect to their parasite communities. At our study site, prevalence of Balantidium, Trichuris and Watsonius was higher in P. papio. Papio papio harboured more parasites per host, and we found evidence of a positive association between Trichuris and Balantidium in P. troglodytes but not P. papio.
Department of Biology,Orange County Community College,115 South Street,Middletown,New York 10940,USA. Department of Archaeology and Anthropology,University of Cambridge,Fitzwilliam Street,Cambridge CB2 1QH,UK. Department of Anthropology,Miami University,501 East High Street,Oxford,OH 45056,UK.