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New records of sucking lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera: Anoplura) on rodents (Mammalia: Rodentia: Muridae) from Chile.

Key words. Chile. Hoplopleura. Muridae. Phthiraptera. Polyplax.


The rodent fauna of Chile includes 60 species in 31 genera, which represents more than half of the country's mammalian diversity. They are also over-represented in relation to the expected number according to the country and to the South America area (Contreras, 2000). Chilean rodents fall into two different lineages: the Caviomorpha (Guinea pigs and their allies) and the Myomorpha (rat and mouse) (Munoz-Pedreros, 2000). The taxa Muridae Sigmodontinae with 31 native and one introduced taxa (the muskrat); the Muridae: Murinae comprising three introduced pest species (the Norwegian rat, the Black rat and the House mouse). The Sigmodontinae weighing less than 50 gr are omnivores or herbivores; the omnivore pest murids arrived with European settlers and now they are widespread (Redford and Eisenberg, 1992; Spotorno and Walker, 2000).

Phthiraptera are highly specialized ectoparasites living on birds and mammals. Studies of this group in Chile are fragmented and incomplete. With the aim of increasing our knowledge of the ectoparasite diversity living on wild rodents, we report the Phthiraptera collected on different species/ specimens of Muridae (Mammalia: Rodentia) held in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History of Santiago, Chile (MNHN).

The following louse-positive host species and their localities were identified: nine Norwegian rats (Rattus norvegicus [Berkkenhaut, 1769]) from Machali (34[degrees] 11' S 70[degrees] 39' W) and Talca (35[degrees] 25' S 71[degrees] 39' W); four Black rats (Rattus rattus [Linnaeus, 1758]) from Lago Penuelas (33[degrees] 09' S 71[degrees] 32' W) to Talca; 10 Olivaceus mice (Abrothrix olivaceus Watherhouse, 1837) from "Lago Penuelas" to Talca; three Andean mice (Abrothrix andinus [Philippi, 1868]) from "Termas del Flaco" (35[degrees] 57' S 70[degrees] 26' W) to Constitucion (35[degrees] 20' S 71[degrees] 24' W); two Valdivian mole-mice (Geoxus valdivianus [Philippi, 1858]) from Quilan island, Chiloe (43[degrees] 25' S 74[degrees] 20' W) to El Toqui, Coyhaique (45[degrees] 10' S 72[degrees] 06' W); 24 Long-tailed rice rats (Oligoryzomys longicaudatus [Bennet 1833]) from La Serena (29[degrees]54'S 71[degrees]15'W) to Chile Chico (46[degrees] 33' S 71[degrees] 44' W); 11 Darwin's leaf-eared mice (Phyllotis darwini [Glanz 1977]) from San Felipe (32[degrees] 45' S 70[degrees] 43' W) to Constitucion (35[degrees] 20' S 71[degrees] 24' W); four Andean leaf-eared mice (Phyllotis xanthopygus vaccarum [Waterhouse, 1837]) from "Termas del Flaco" to Talca.

Lice were collected by exhaustive combing of the host fur, and stored in alcohol 70%. They were subsequently slide-mounted using the Canada Balsam technique as described by Palma (1978).

Five species of lice were collected and identified from the eight examined species of rodents. Five specimens of Hoplopleura pacifica Ewing, 1924 were collected on R. norvegicus. This louse has been recorded in Argentina on Rattus sp. and R. norvegicus (Castro and Cicchino, 1998). The material reported here is the first record of H. pacifica from Chile.

Polyplax spinulosa (Burmeister, 1839) was found on R. norvegicus and R. rattus. This species was first recorded in Chile by Thompson (1940) on R. rattus in the Juan Fernandez Island. This is the first record of P. spinulosa on R. norvegicus in Chile.

Ten specimens of Hoplopleura andina Castro, 1981 were taken from A. olivaceus, A. andinus and G. valdivianus. H. andina was originally recorded in Concepcion, Chile, on A. olivaceus, as well as on A. andinus in Mendoza, Argentina, by Castro (1981). Besides, Castro (1982) recorded H. andina on Abrothrix xanthorhinus Waterhouse, 1837 in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, and Gomez (1998) recorded H. andina on G. valdivianus in Lonquimay, Chile. Recently, Gonzalez-Acuna et al. (2003) reported this louse on A. olivaceus in Penuelas, Chile. This is the first record of H. andina on A. andinus in Chile.

Specimens of Hoplopleura travassosi Werneck, 1932 were collected on O. longicaudatus from La Serena to Chile Chico. H. travassosi is a widespread species that parasitises several taxa of Muridae in Brasil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Venezuela (Durden and Musser, 1994; Castro and Gonzalez, 1997; Castro and Cicchino, 1998). Gonzalez-Acuna et al. (2003) recorded H. travassosi on O. longicaudatus in Talca and Coyhaique. The new locality records presented here extend the geographical distribution of H. travassosi north to La Serena (29[degrees] 54' S) and south to Chile Chico (46[degrees] 33' S).

Specimens of Hoplopleura aitkeni Johnson, 1972 were collected on P. darwini and P. x. vaccarum in several localities. H. aitkeni was originally described on Akodon urichi Allen and Chapman, 1897 in Bolivia and Venezuela. Castro (1985) found H. aitkeni on A. budini (Thomas, 1918) (=A. caenosus), A. azarae (Fischer, 1829), A. molinae Contreras, 1698 and Akodon nucus Thomas, 1926 in Argentina. The two Phyllotis species reported here are all new host records for H. aitkeni, and this is also the first record of this louse from Chile.


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Daniel A. Gonzalez-Acuna (1), Dolores del C. Castro (2), Lucila del C. Moreno Salas (1), Juan C. Torres-Mura (3) and Eberhard Mey (4)

(1) Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria, Universidad de Concepcion, Casilla 537, Chillan, Chile. (2) Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo de la Plata, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900, La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (3) Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Casilla 787, Santiago, Chile. (4) Naturhistorisches Museum in Thuringen, An der Brucke 3, D-07407 Rudolstadt, Germany.
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Author:Gonzalez-Acuna, Daniel A.; del C. Castro, Dolores; del C. Moreno Salas, Lucila; Torres-Mura, Juan C.
Publication:Mastozoologia Neotropical
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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