A population of the common warthog, Phacochoerus africanus, recently became established on several farms in the Free State Province, South Africa. The aim of the study was to record ectoparasite species that occur on this non-indigenous population and to compare the parasite abundance and prevalence at three different times during 2011. Forty-six warthogs were culled in autumn (15), winter (16) and spring (15). Each individual warthog was screened for ectoparasites for 7–10 minutes by 3–4 persons. Parasites were removed using forceps and stored in 70% ethanol. Ticks were identified by an expert taxonomist, while fleas and lice were identified using published books containing their respective taxonomic keys. A single flea (Echidnophaga larina) and louse (Haematopinus phacocheri) species and three tick species (Hyalomma truncatum, Rhipicephalus gertrudae and Rhipicephalus simus) were recovered from 46 warthogs. The louse and flea were the most abundant ectoparasitic taxa, while the ticks had lower mean abundances. This is the first record of the tick R. gertrudae on warthogs in South Africa. Temporal variation in parasite abundance was observed. The louse was most abundant during spring and summer, while the flea preferred cooler and drier winter conditions. Hyalomma truncatum and R. gertrudae both preferred warmer spring conditions. In general, parasite species richness in the non-indigenous host population was low, which could support the parasite release hypothesis.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2