The Italian Mouflon (Ovis musimon): A Brief History of its Parasites in the Last 45 Years
Over recent decades, the interest in wildlife has remarkably increased amongst veterinarians and the mouflon and its related parasitic diseases were amongst the investigated topics. In Italy, the mouflon is widespread in the Alps, central-north Apennines, and Sardinia. Population size was estimated at about 20,000 heads in 2010. However, mouflons are currently on the decrease in the Alps due to wolf predation and high hunting pressure to prevent competition with native Caprines. Veterinary parasitologists largely contributed to the understanding of pathogens and their ecological roles amongst native and introduced mouflons into Italy. Their work, including “grey” literature, was collected on a floppy disk for the first time in the 1990s. A second update appeared in the first decade of the new century. Along these lines, we also revisited and collected data concerning the last 20 years, thus creating a website (http:// www.parasitepub.altervista.org) which can be consulted virtually and universally. To create our database, we searched and classified the publications retrieved from annals of academic departments, journals, conference proceedings, university libraries and on-line data banks. Our database aims to be as up-to-date as possible and as updatable as possible. Contributions were classified according to four interpretative levels. Our search is based on the retrieval of 47 papers from 1970 to 2015. The studied mouflons originated mainly from Northern Italy (57%), followed by Central Italy (28%) and Sardinia (15%). Among parasite groups, nematodes were the most frequently studied (44% of papers) followed by arthropods (15%), protozoa (12%), trematodes and cestodes (11%), dermatophytes (7%). The analysis of ecopathological levels revealed the predominance of the first (56%) followed by the second (23%), the third (18%) and the fourth (3%). The newly created website is intended as an easy-to-use bibliographic tool to support investigation on parasites and parasitic diseases in free-ranging wildlife in Italy.