Geographical Distribution by Biomes of some Marsupial Siphonaptera from the State of Paraná, Brazil

siphonaptera; marsupials; geographical distribution


Geographical Distribution by Biomes of some Marsupial Siphonaptera from the State of Paraná, Brazil

Vol. 92 (4): 485-486

Darci Moraes Barros-Battesti/ + , Marcia Arzua *

Laboratório de Artrópodes, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brasil 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brasil * Museu de História Natural Capão da Imbuia, Departamento de Zoológico, Prefeitura Municipal de Curitiba, Rua Benedito Conceição 407, 828l0-080 Curitiba, PR, Brasil

Key words: siphonaptera - marsupials - geographical distribution


There is little information about fleas infesting marsupials in Brazil. The host/parasite relationships and range of siphonapteras are better known from rodents, which are the chief hosts to most Rhopalopsyllidae fleas. This was shown by PM Linardi (1984 Rev Bras Biol 44 : 329-334) when relating Rhopalopsyllidae species and subspecies to hosts, and recording infestation rates in addition to flea taxonomy and phylogeny (PM Linardi 1985 Rev Bras Biol 45 : 73-78). In the Brazilian State of Paraná, the first study on fleas of wild animals was published by DM Barros et al. (1993 J Med Entomol 30 : 1068-1070). The present paper aims to contribute with some information about fleas of marsupials and their distribution in relation to different vegetative zones within Paraná.

From 1992 to 1995, marsupials were captured with 15 live-trap cages baited with bacon or ripe bananas placed on the ground in 3 vegetative zones, during 3 days in each municipality. In Curitiba, capital of the State, 3 days gatherings were held monthly during 1995. Fifteen traps were randomly placed in houses' ceilings and surrounding vegetation. The areas were numbered and selected using the table of aleatory numbers (JSC Pereira & WO Bussab 1985, Tábuas de Estatística, Harbra Harper & Row do Brasil, São Paulo, 20 pp.). Some opossums were captured alive by local residents and taken to the Zoo Department in Curitiba. Animals were anaesthetized with ether and combed over white sink. Collected fleas were mounted in slides (SB Pessôa & AV Martins 1978, Parasitologia Médica, 10th ed., Guanabara Koogan, Rio de Janeiro, 986 pp.). The fleas were identified by the keys presented in Pessôa and Martins ( loc. cit.) and FGAM Smit (1987, An Illustrated Catologue of the Rothschild Collection of Fleas (Siphonaptera) in the British Museum (Natural History) VII, Oxford University Press, Oxford & London, 380 pp.). The nomenclature proposed for marsupial was based in DE Wilson and DM Reeder (1993, Mammals Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 2nd ed., Smithsonian Institutions, 1207 pp.). The siphonaptera as well as the marsupials' skin and skulls, except the opossums' were deposited into the Capão da Imbuia Museum of Natural History collection. For Rhopalopsyllinae genera and subgenera the nomenclature proposed by PM Linardi and LR Guimarães (1993 J Med Entomol 30 : 161-170) has been followed.

In total, 231 fleas representing 10 species were gathered in 70 marsupials from 9 municipalities. The accompanying map shows the 5 vegetative zones in Paraná, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística 1992), with the research locations indicated by the symbol (·). The regions numbers 1 and 5 were not investigated. Biomes and their respective municipalities where hosts and siphonaptera were collected, including the period, are listed below.

Atlantic forest

Morretes - October 1992 - Captured: Mono-delphis spp . , D. marsupialis , Lutreolina crassicaudata and Marmosa cinerea , 1 specimen of each species. Only D. marsupialis was infested, by Xenopsylla cheopis (Pulicidae) fleas. With a cosmopolitan range, this species is common in urban rodents and responsible for the transmission of bubonic plague in endemic areas from the northeastern Brazil.

Guaraqueçaba - January 1993 - One non-infected Philander opossum marsupial was collected.

Adrianópolis - May 1993 - Captured: 3 D. marsupialis without ectoparasites and 1 P. opossum infected by 2 fleas Hystrichopsyllidae: Adoratopsylla ( Adoratopsylla ) antiquorum antiquorum and A. ( Tritopsylla ) intermedia intermedia . This is the first record of A. intermedia in Paraná. This species was registered by PM Linardi et al. (1991 J Med Entomol 28 : 183-185) on L. crassicaudata from the State of Santa Catarina, in Atlantic forest area. A. antiquorum species was recorded for the second time in Paraná, in the municipality of Mandirituba ( Araucaria angustifolia forest area) its southern spread limit (Barros et al. loc. cit. ).


Ponta Grossa - May 1992 - Captured: 1 D. albiventris with 1 Rhopalopsyllus lutzi lutzi (Rhopalopsyllidae) flea and 3 L. crassicaudata infested by 1 Craneopsylla minerva minerva (Stephanocircidae), 1 Polygenis axius axius and 3 P. tripus , both of the Rhopalopsyllidae family. The spread for R. lutzi includes the Cerrado and the Atlantic forest; P. axius occurs in the Pampas and the spread of P. tripus includes the Cerrado and Caatinga (Linardi 1987 loc. cit. ). P. axius and P. tripus , also found in the Atlantic forest, are being recorded in Steppe for the first time and are new records for Paraná. Both R. lutzi and C. minerva have already been recorded in Paraná, in A. angustifolia forests, by Barros et al. ( loc. cit .).

Araucaria angustifolia forests

The marsupials captured in Tijucas do Sul - January 1992 - (3 D. marsupialis ), Araucária - April 1992 - (2 D. marsupialis and 1 P. opossum ), and Pinhão - March 1994 - (1 Monodelphis spp. and 1 P. opossum ) were negative to siphonaptera.

Quatro Barras - February 1992 - The only D. albiventris captured in this municipality was infected by 1 C. minerva and 6 Polygenis ( Neopolygenis ) atopus. In other areas, P. atopus shows preference for marsupials, getting to a 77% infestation rate in Didelphis sp. (CE Machado-Allison 1962 Acta Biol Venez 3 : 173-193). This is the first record of the species in Paraná.

Curitiba - January to December 1995 - Of the 43 D. albiventris , 32 specimens were infected by 10 C . minerva (4.3%), 128 Ctenocephalides felis felis (55.4%) (Pulicidae), 1 R. lutzi (0.4%) and 11 Polygenis ( P. ) rimatus rimatus (4.8%) (Rhopalo-psyllidae). The last species, already recorded in Paraná (Barros et al. loc. cit. ), spreads broadly in the Pampas and Atlantic, A. angustifolia and rain forest biomes (Linardi 1987 loc. cit. ). 1 Monodelphis spp. without ectoparasites, 2 D. marsupialis and 2 Didelphis sp., both infected by 64 C. felis , with a frequency rate of 20.3% and 7.3%, respectively. C. felis is common in cats and dogs and has been pointed as the intermediate host for nematode and cestode parasites, as well as vector for murine typhus (W Jellison 1959 Ann Rev Ent 4 : 389-414). This species, found only in Curitiba opossums, represents 83.1% of the collected fleas. This indicates that these mammals are living too close to dwellings, what may cause human health problems.

Acknowledgements: to Dr Pedro Marcos Linardi (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) for critical suggestions and Michel Miretzki (Museu de História Natural Capão da Imbuia) for technical assistance.


Vegetative zones in the State of Paraná, Brazil - 1: seasonal semideciduous forest; 2: Atlantic forest; 3: Araucaria angustifolia forest; 4: steppe; 5: savanna. (·) localities of marsupial'captures.

+ Corresponding author. Fax: + 55-11-815.1505

Received 30 July 1996

Accepted 14 March 1997

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    14 Oct 1998
  • Date of issue
    July 1997


  • Accepted
    14 Mar 1997
  • Received
    30 July 1996
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