Comparison of parasitic infections and body condition in rufous mouse lemurs (Microcebus rufus) at Ranomafana National Park, southeast Madagascar


  • Herman Andry Rafalinirina University of Antananarivo, Department of Paleontology and Biological Anthropology
  • Tuomas Aivelo University of Helsinki, Institute of Biotechnology
  • Patricia Chapple Wright Stony Brook University, Dept of Anthropology
  • Jeannot Randrianasy University of Antananarivo, Department of Paleontology and Biological Anthropology


parasites, infections, Valbio, ectoparasites, torpor, Microcebus rufus, Ranomafana National Park


Body condition may be an important indicator for many infectious diseases and parasites, and may ultimately affect an individual’s fitness. Although some research has correlated body condition and parasite loads in other nonhuman primates, little information has been investigated in prosimian primates. In this study we compare parasitic infections and body condition in a member of the Cheirogaleidae family (Microcebus rufus: rufous mouse lemur) at Ranomafana National Park, southeast Madagascar. This species is characterized by seasonal fattening in preparation for the dry season followed by torpor, and it is important to understand the fluctuation between parasites and infections according to seasonal body condition. We trapped 72 individuals of the species inside Ranomafana National Park (RNP) after the dry season. These individuals were brought to the Centre Valbio Laboratory (CVB) and were subcutaneously micro-chipped with subdermal transponders for permanent identification. We recorded morphometric data, body condition, species richness and prevalence of ectoparasites and gastrointestinal parasites. We found that individuals that had both high number of parasite species as well as high prevalence of ectoparasites and gastrointestinal parasites had better body condition. There is some indication that being in good condition is important in controlling infections.



La condition physique peut être un indicateur important pour de nombreuses maladies infectieuses et pour les parasites, et peut finalement affecter l'aptitude d'un individu. Si certaines études ont montré la relation entre condition physique et charges parasitaires chez des primates non humains, peu d'informations étaient disponibles en ce qui concerne les prosimiens. Dans cette étude, les infections parasitaires et l'état de santé du microcèbe roux Microcebus rufus de la famille des Cheirogaleidae ont été étudiées dans le Parc National de Ranomafana, Sud-est de Madagascar. Cette espèce est caractérisée par sa capacité à accumuler des matières grasses à la base de la queue afin de se préparer à la saison sèche au cours de laquelle elle rentre en torpeur ; il est donc important de comprendre la fluctuation saisonnière entre les parasites et les infections selon l'état de santé des individus. Soixante-douze animaux de cette espèce ont été capturés à l'intérieur du Parc National de Ranomafana après la saison sèche. Les individus capturés ont été rapportés au Centre Valbio où ils ont été marqués avec une puce électronique sous-cutanée servant de transpondeur pour l'identification permanente. Nous avons collecté des données morphométriques pour documenter la condition physique, la richesse spécifique et la prévalence des ectoparasites et des parasites gastro-intestinaux. Nous avons constaté que les individus présentant à la fois un grand nombre d'espèces de parasites ainsi qu’une forte prévalence d’ectoparasites et de parasites gastro-intestinaux avaient une meilleure condition physique. Les résultats semblent indiquer qu’un bon état est important dans le contrôle des infections.

Author Biographies

Herman Andry Rafalinirina, University of Antananarivo, Department of Paleontology and Biological Anthropology

Phd candidate

Tuomas Aivelo, University of Helsinki, Institute of Biotechnology

Phd candidate

Patricia Chapple Wright, Stony Brook University, Dept of Anthropology


Jeannot Randrianasy, University of Antananarivo, Department of Paleontology and Biological Anthropology



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Strongyloides sp., Nematoda a parasite of Microcebus rufus from Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar


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