16 November 2017
Globally, habitat degradation is accelerating, especially in the tropics. Changes to interface habitats can increase environmental overlap among nonhuman primates, people, and domestic animals and change stress levels in wildlife, leading to changes in their risk of parasite infections. However, the direction and consequences of these changes are unclear, since animals may benefit by exploiting human resources (e.g., improving nutritional health by eating nutritious crops) and decreasing susceptibility to infection, or interactions with humans may lead to chronic stress and increased susceptibility to infection. Vervet monkeys are an excellent model to understand parasitic disease transmission because of their tolerance to anthropogenic disturbance. Here we quantify the gastrointestinal parasites of a group of vervet monkeys ( Chlorocebus aethiops) near Lake Nabugabo, Uganda, that frequently overlaps with people in their use of a highly modified environment. We compare the parasites found in this population to seven other sites where vervet monkey gastrointestinal parasites have been identified. The vervets of Lake Nabugabo have the greatest richness of parasites documented to date. We discuss how this may reflect differences in sampling intensity or differences in the types of habitat where vervet parasites have been sampled.