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Distribution records for helminths of the red fox Vulpes vulpes from New Mexico.

The red fox Vulpes vulpes, occurs throughout New Mexico, especially in montane and cropland habitats (Findley et al., 1975). Eight red foxes were collected in New Mexico during 1996-1998 as part of an effort by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to document distribution of foxes in the state. A list of fleas from these animals was published by Harrison et al. (2003). We report on helminth parasites from the three red foxes that harbored worms.

Most foxes were obtained as road-kills, but a few were shot or poisoned. Foxes were placed into plastic bags and frozen until they were examined in the laboratory, at which time the gastrointestinal tract, heart, and trachea were examined. Helminths were preserved in 70% ethanol. Nematodes were studied in temporary mounts of lactophenol and then returned to the preservative. Cestodes were stained in Carmine and mounted in Canada balsam for identification. All foxes were deposited in the University of New Mexico Museum of Southwestern Biology in Albuquerque. To facilitate retrieval of hosts or parasites reported herein, we have included collector, museum, and field numbers for each.

Mesocestoides variabilis was recovered from two males (25%) from McKinley County (CGS6179, MSB 232356, NK35524; CGS6203, MSB 232362, NK 35548) and a female red fox from McKinley County (CGS6240, MSB 232378, NK 35584). Ancylostoma caninum was recovered from one male red fox (CGS6179, others as above; 12.5%) from McKinley County, and also had M. variabilis. Spirocerca lupi was in one male red fox (12.5%; CGS6208, MSB 232364, NK35553) from Roosevelt County.

Dissections ofthawed carcasses of hosts did not involve removal, collection, and preservation of all parasites from any red fox. As a consequence, it is not possible to provide reliable numbers for mean intensity. Mesocestoides variabilis has been reported from red foxes in Illinois (Dyer and Klimstra, 1981) and the genus Mesocestoides also has been reported in red foxes in Iowa (Smith, 1943). Presumably, red foxes become infected by eating lizards (Specht and Voge, 1965) or mice (Grundmann, 1956, 1958; Grundmann and Frandsen, 1959, 1960; Kegley et al., 1970). Ancylostoma caninum, the dog hookworm, has been found in red foxes from Illinois (Leigh, 1949; Dyer and Klimstra, 1981), Kansas (Standley, 1963), Iowa (Smith, 1943), and Florida (Conti, 1984). Foxes become infected with hookworms by skin-penetration of third-stage free-living juveniles. Spirocerca lupi has been found in red foxes from Florida (Conti, 1984). Foxes become infected by eating insects that carry juvenile stages of this species. The cestode, M. variabilis, and the two nematodes, A. caninum and S. lupi, are recorded in New Mexico for the first time and extend their ranges in the red fox well into the American Southwest.

We thank J. Dunnum and S. Brant for assistance in deposition and curation of hosts and their worms. We also are grateful to K. Mendoza for providing the Spanish translation of the abstract and to two reviewers for comments.

Submitted 4 December 2011. Accepted 9 November 2012. Associate Editor was Jerry L. Cook.


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John E. Ubelaker, * Bretton S. Griffin, Donald W. Duszynski, and Robert L. Harrison

Department of Biological Sciences, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275 (JEU, BSG) Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87275 (DWD, RLH)

* Correspondent:
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Author:Ubelaker, John E.; Griffin, Bretton S.; Duszynski, Donald W.; Harrison, Robert L.
Publication:Southwestern Naturalist
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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