Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Anne Axel

Second Advisor

Shane Welch

Third Advisor

Kimberly Dingess


Interactions between free-ranging primates and their associated parasitic forms continue to be a point of interest in ecology for several reasons. External and internal parasitism is not atypical for wild populations of primates, and the repercussions of these relationships can range from benign to life-threatening and capable of altering the structure of naturally occurring groups. The ecological relationship between the golden mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata palliata) and its host-specific ectoparasite, the howler monkey bot fly (Alouattamyia baeri) poses significant potential detriment to the overall body quality and success of the host primate. A. p. palliata has also been recorded as a host to a number of gastrointestinal parasites. We suspect that the colonization of a primate by one parasite species may prove to diminish host condition and increase susceptibility for additional parasitic establishment. The objectives of this research project are to (1) measure the density and species richness of both external and internal parasites inhabiting golden-mantled howler monkeys, (2) provide information on the overall parasite load for howler monkeys in a protected region of Costa Rica, (3) provide information on the relative densities of internal parasites in the presence or absence of howler monkey bot flies, and (4) document any existing relationships between parasite presence, density, and species richness as a function of host primate demographics including age class and sex.


Mantled howler monkey -- Costa Rica.

Monkeys -- Behavior -- Costa Rica.

Parasites as biological tags.