Thesis

The parasites of the Botta pocket gopher Thomomys bottae and the taxonomy and biology of Ransomus rodentorum

Voge (1955, 1956a) and Frandsen and Grundmann (1961), have identified and recorded the distributions of parasites occuring in pocket gophers of the genus Thomomys. Todd et al. (1971) have identified parasites from Thomomys talpoides. There have been no such studies corncening Thomomys bottae in Northern California. Thus, my initial objective was to identify the parasites of T. bottae near McKinleyville, Humboldt Co., California. As my study progressed, questions arose about microgeographic distributions of the helminthofauna. Therefore, determination. of microgeographical variation became my second objective. Concurrently, a taxonomic problem arose concerning a strongylid nematode, which was tentatively identified as Ransomus rodentorum Hall 1916. Consequently, my third objective was to clarify the taxonomy of this nematode. Strongylid nematodes commonly infect herbivores (Popova 1964); but R. rodentorum is the only known strongylid parasitizing a subterannean host' and the life cycle is unknown. Thus, my final objective was to describe the life cycle and ecology of R. rodentorum.

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