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A preliminary survey of the ecto and endoparasites of the grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus Temminck): case study in Ekumfi, Cental Region of Ghana

S. Yeboah
P. K. Simpson


Domestication and farming of grasscutter is gradually spreading throughout the country as an important source of protein to supplement grasscutter meat obtained from the wild, yet very little is known about their diseases. The present study attempts to throw some light on parasitic infestations capable of hindering grasscutter farming in Ghana. One hundred and fifty grasscutters (or cane rats) were examined within a period of seven months for ecto and endoparasites at Eisam in the Ekumfi District of Ghana. Four species of ticks namely: Rhipicephalus simpsoni, Ixodes aulacodi, Ixodes sp. and Hemaphysalis parmata were the ectoparasites found. The ticks were found on all body regions of the grasscutters. The anterior part of the body was found to have the highest tick infestation, whilst the posterior had the least. The probable season for site preference has been discussed. Six species of helminth parasites comprising 2 species of cestodes and 4 species of nematodes were found in various parts of the gut of the grasscutters. The cestodes were Furhmanella transvaalensis, Railettina mahonae and the nematodes were Longistriata spira, Trachypharynx natalensis, Paralibyostrongylus vondwei and Trichuris paravispicularis. This is the first report of R. mahonae as a parasite in the gut of the grasscutter. There was no significant difference in relative infestation between male and female grasscutters for any tick or helminth species. We hope that this study will encourage further research into other agents of grasscutter diseases to reduce mortality and thereby help to increase grasscutter meat production in the country.

(Journal of the Ghana Science Association: 2001 3(3): 30-36)

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eISSN: 0855-3823