Great Basin Naturalist


To determine whether infections by whipworms (Trichuris dipodomys [Nematoda: Trichurata: Trichuridae]) might affect digestive efficiency and therefore energy budgets of two species of kangaroo rats (Dipodomys microps and Dipodomys ordii [Rodentia: Heteromyidae]), we compared the apparent dry matter digestibility of tree groups of hosts: those naturally infected with whipworms, those naturally uninfected with whipworm, and those originally naturally infected but later deinfected by treatment with the anthelminthic Ivermectin. Prevalence of T. dipodomys was higher in D. microps (53%) than in D. ordii (14%). Apparent dry matter digestibility was reduced by whipworm infection in D. microps but not in D. ordii. Although a statistically significant effect was shown, its small magnitude indicates that whipworm infection is unlikely to have a biologically significant impact on the energy budgets of host kangaroo rats.