The helminth fauna of the largest bathyergid, the Cape molerat
(Bathyergus suillus) was studied throughout an entire calendar year.
The species richness encountered was low, with only 3 species of
nematodes (Longistriata bathyergi, Mammalakis macrospiculum, and
Trichostrongylus sp.) and 2 species of cestodes (Taenia sp. and
Rodentolepis sp.). At less than 10%, the prevalence for all helminths
species was similarly low and may be a result of the solitary lifestyle and
the subterranean habitat exploited by this rodent. Clear seasonal patterns
were apparent for the most common nematode (L. bathyergi), and
prevalence and abundance were highest among non-pregnant females
compared to males and pregnant females. Dispersal patterns associated
with the mating system of the host could explain this pattern. In contrast,
the prevalence of the most common cestode (Taenia sp.) was neither
determined by season nor host sex, suggesting that foraging habits may
constantly expose B. suillus to this parasite.