Great Basin Naturalist


Six species of the coccidian genus Eimeria (E. larimerensis [prevalence = 17%], E. bilamellata [12%] E. beecheyi [34%], E. morainensis [43%], E. callospermophili [21%], and E. spermophili [5%]) were recovered from Wyoming ground squirrels (Spermophilus elegans elegans) collected during 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986. Infected ground squirrels were found to harbor from one to five species simultaneously. The 1007 hosts examined were collected from two different habitats: (1) a xeric desert shrub-steppe and (2) an irrigated alfalfa-brome field. All species of Eimeria occurred at each study site during all years, although the prevalence of each species varied between years. This is the first report of these congeries of species infecting this host. In a second study of sympatric populations of Wyoming ground squirrels and white-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys leucurus), found three species of Eimeria present in both host populations (E. beecheyi [white-tailed prairie dog prevalence = 83%, Wyoming ground squirrel = 52%], E. morainensis [22%, 52%], and E. bilamellata [17%, 10%]). This is the first report of these three species infecting white-tailed prairie dogs. Eimeria larimerensis was found in Wyoming ground squirrels but not in prairie dogs.