- The biomarkers 'feature' where they move, their habits and diets
- A study of 66 feces specimens reveals their habits
- Samples were analyzed Doñana and Sierra Morena for three years
- 56% of stools were parasitized with at least six species of worms
A study of fecal samples of 66 specimens of Iberian lynx in Doñana and SierraMorena(Spain) will hear more about some aspects of the world's most endangered cat, andwhat are their hunting grounds, where it moves, what their customs and above all,what you eat or if there has been any change in their diet.
In this way, these parasites become biomarkers able to provide new data on the microhabitat and the habits of this animal, which is counted 298 individuals inAndalusia, useful information to advance conservation and to safeguard a species that is part of the natural heritage of Spain.
Guillermo Esteban is Professor of Parasitology at the University of Valencia and one of the authors of the study entitled 'The helminth parasites in faecal samples of Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus), published by a major scientific publishers in the world, Elsevier,and which involved scientists from the Universidad Miguel Hernández de Elche(Alicante), as well as experts from the Ministry of Environment of the Junta de Andalucía.
"Each worm has its own life cycle and this allows us to access information importantbiological lynx, have a real vision of what is the general situation in Spain of this kind,when we cross the data with other reports, we know if something is changing in thecat's lifestyle, "says Stephen.
Never before been so many fecal samples analyzed or had handled a volume of copies so high."The data are representative of the parasitic fauna which houses the lynx," he says.The feces were taken between November 2005 and October 2008 in Doñana and Sierra Morena from 66 individuals of different age and sex, both dead and alive.
In this last case, it took the handling of specimens for health checks or radio-trackingdevices to capture the samples were kept at the Bank of Biological and Genetic Resources Threatened Wildlife Andalucia.
According to the results of the study, over 56% of faces examined was parasitized by at least six species of these worms, "the vast majority of worms characteristic of lynx and conform to your eating habits." However, we also have detected other varieties of parasites that constitute circumstantial cases linked to "intake point", eg insects, which, a priori, do not indicate a change in the feline diet because of the lack of rabbits its main power source.
"If you ask me if these pests are good for the lynx, the answer I had better not, nor is ita cause for concern because they pose a biological threat, since they are not able to regulate the lynx population through deaths, all, "Stephen explains in this respect."It is a usual phenomenon in all populations of wild animals" and "far from being a threat in general, is an important evolutionary force," agrees director of the Life-Lynxprogram, Miguel Angel Simon.
While waiting for more conclusive results, this study demonstrates that the soft bodyof these tiny parasites can 'read' the life of a lynx and discover more of the most threatened feline Earth.