Coyote (Canis latrans) removal programs often are initiated despite the potential population regulatory mechanism of parasitism with increased coyote density. We investigated the effect of intensive, short-term coyote removal on population levels of helminths in juvenile and adult coyotes from western Texas. Coyotes were killed by aerial gunning every 3 mo for 2 yr on two 5,000 ha areas, which reduced the overall coyote density of these areas by about 50%. Two other 5,000 ha areas were used as comparison sites where a limited number of coyotes were killed each season. Densities on comparison sites remained stable throughout the study at a mean ± 1 SE of 0.14 ± 0.01 coyotes/km2. Twelve helminth species consisting of seven nematodes (Ancylostoma caninum, Physaloptera rara, Toxascaris leonina, Dirofilaria immitis, Spirocerca lupi, Oslerus osleri, and Capillaria aerophila), three cestodes (Taenia pisiformis, Taenia multiceps, and Mesocestoidessp.), one acanthocephalan (Oncicola canis), and one trematode (Alaria marcianae) were found in 252 coyotes. Of these, A. caninum, P. rara, T. multiceps, T. pisiformis, T. leonina,and S. lupiwere common species. Rank-transformed values for the mean abundances of A. caninumand T. multicepsand A. caninum, T. multiceps,and S. lupiwere reduced in juvenile and adult coyotes, respectively, from the removal sites compared to respective helminth abundances in similar age class coyotes from comparison sites. Because A. caninumhas been suggested as a population regulator of coyotes, a coyote removal program that results in a reduced density of coyotes and at the same time causes a reduced abundance of A. caninum,may in fact negate the regulatory effect that A. caninumhas on coyote populations.
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Vol. 38 • No. 1