Ectoparasitic infestations of the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in Urmia city, Iran: First report

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran

2 Resident in Veterinary Surgery, Department of Surgery and Radiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran


Hedgehogs are small, nocturnal mammals that become popular in the world and have significant role in transmission of zoonotic agents. Some of the agents are transmitted by ticks and fleas such as rickettsial agents. For these reason, a survey on ectoparasites in European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) carried out between April 2006 and December 2007 from different parts of Urmia city, west Azerbaijan, Iran. After being euthanized external surface of body of animals was precisely considered for ectoparasites, and arthropods were collected and stored in 70% ethanol solution. Out of 34 hedgehogs 23 hedgehogs (67.70%) were infested with ticks (Rhipicephalus turanicus). Fleas of the species Archaeopsylla erinacei were found on 19 hedgehogs of 34 hedgehogs (55.90%). There was no significant differences between sex of ticks (p > 0.05) but found in fleas (p < 0.05). The prevalence of infestation in sexes and the body condition of hedgehogs (small, medium and large) with ticks and fleas did not show significant differences (p > 0.05). Highest occurrence of infestation in both tick and flea was in June. Among three seasons of hedgehog collection significant differences was observed (p < 0.05). The result of our survey revealed that infestation rate in hedgehog was high. According to zoonotic importance of this ectoparasite and ability to transmission of some pathogens, more studies are needed to investigate hedgehog parasites in different parts of Iran.