Common Parasites of Fruit-Eating Bats in Southern Ghana

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Bats are nocturnal mammals found everywhere except in the Antarctica and Arctic regions. They are important for the maintenance of the ecosystem in terms of pollination and seed dispersal, particularly in tropical regions, as well as in controlling insect populations that would otherwise be pests. Bats have been reported as reservoir hosts for several pathogens including viruses such as Ebola, Nipah, Hendra and Lyssa. The purpose of the study was to document the parasites that infest and infect bats and to determine their potential public health importance to humans. Four hundred and eighty bats were captured, using mist nets, at four different locations in Ghana (“37” Military Hospital, Buoyem, Tanoboase Sacred Grove and Ve-Golokuati) from March to August 2014. Ectoparasites were collected through hand picking and also by swabbing with cotton wool soaked in 70% ethanol. Haemoparasites were studied by taking a drop of blood (0.05ml) from the propatagial vein of each bat and a blood smear prepared. Drops of blood were also put on filter paper for molecular work. Faecal samples were taken for examination for helminth parasites.

Of the total number of bats examined, 159 (33.13%) were infested with ectoparasites. Four species of bat flies, eighteen species of mites and two species of ticks were recorded. The most abundant ectoparasite group found on bats were mites; where the species most frequently encountered were Spinturnix americana, Carpoglyphus sp. and Ancystropus zeleborii. Nycteribia alternata and Cyclopodia greefi greefi were the most common bat flies recorded while Argas vespertilionis was the most common tick found to infest bats. Adult bats ([104 out of 184]56.52%) harboured the most ectoparasites compared to sub-adult (46.90%) and juvenile (29.53%) bats. Male bats also harboured significantly higher numbers of ectoparasites than female bats (p= 0.01584). With respect to capture site, the highest proportion of individuals xvi infested was recorded at the Tanoboase Sacred Grove (50%). Bats examined at the ‘37’ Military Hospital were the least infested (20.83%).

The highest proportion of bats infested was recorded in March (44.06%) and the least in August (20%). Haemoparasites were observed in the blood samples with almost half of the bats (~48%) infested. The specific parasite species, however, could not be determined due to logistic and time constraints. From the faecal examination, none of the bats captured were infested with helminths. Eleven of the parasite species recorded on bats in this study are known to transmit several pathogens. For example ticks transmit Borrelia sp., Rickettsiae sp. and Ehrlichia sp.; mites transmit enteric acariasis, scrub typhus and rickettsial pox and bat bugs transmit trypanosomes. Given the important roles bats play in the ecosystem, their role in the transmission of zoonotic diseases and the vast range of parasites that they harbour, further studies would be required to understand the bat-parasite-disease dynamics. This knowledge is necessary to inform bat conservation interventions so decisions taken take into consideration public health issues.

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Frontiers, E. & NARKIE, N (2022). Common Parasites of Fruit-Eating Bats in Southern Ghana. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

Frontiers, Edu, and NAA NARKIE "Common Parasites of Fruit-Eating Bats in Southern Ghana" Afribary. Afribary, 16 Jun. 2022, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.


Frontiers, Edu, and NAA NARKIE . "Common Parasites of Fruit-Eating Bats in Southern Ghana". Afribary, Afribary, 16 Jun. 2022. Web. 29 Jun. 2022. < >.


Frontiers, Edu and NARKIE, NAA . "Common Parasites of Fruit-Eating Bats in Southern Ghana" Afribary (2022). Accessed June 29, 2022.