Background: Human communities consistently develop a detailed knowledge of the therapeutical and medicinal properties of the local flora and fauna, and these folk remedies often substitute medicines produced by the pharmaceutical industry. Animals (and their derived products) are essential ingredients in the preparation of many traditional remedies. The present work prepared an inventory of the animals sold in public markets in the cities of Crato and Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará State, Brazil.
BackgroundAnimals have been used as a source of medicine in Brazil since ancient times, and have played a significant role in healing practices. Specifically in Northeast Brazil, zootherapy is a very common practice, and together with medicinal plants, it plays an important role as a therapeutic alternative. In the state of Ceara, no works have been carried out on rural communities with regard to use of zootherapeutics, even though the practice of zootherapy is common in this region. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze the use of medicinal animals in a rural community (Poco Dantas) in the municipality of Crato, Ceara, Brazil.MethodsThe field survey was carried out from October 2008 to January 2009 by conducting interviews using structured questionnaires with 72 people (33 men and 39 women), who provided information on animal species used as remedies, body parts used to prepare the remedies, and ailments for which the remedies were prescribed. We calculated the informant consensus factor (ICF) to determine the consensus over which species are effective for particular ailments, as well as the species use value (UV) to determine the extent of utilization of each species.ResultsA total of 29 species, distributed in 17 families were categorized as having some medicinal property. The taxa most represented were: mammals (9), insects (7), reptiles and birds (4). Progne chalybea, a species not previously recorded as being of medicinal use, was cited in the present work, where it is utilized in the treatment of alcoholism. The animals are used in the treatment of 34 diseases or symptoms, where sore throat, inflammations and cough are the ailments with the greatest number of citations.ConclusionThe data show that zootherapy represents an important therapeutic alternative for the inhabitants of the community. New studies on medicinal fauna should be conducted with the aim of determining the exploitation level of the species utilized, promoting sustainable development of medicinal species that are eventually threatened, and preserving and disseminating the knowledge developed by traditional individuals of the community.
Trophic networks can have architectonic configurations influenced by historical and ecological factors. The objective of this study was to analyze the architecture of networks between lizards, their endoparasites, diet, and micro-habitat, aiming to understand which factors exert an influence on the composition of the species of parasites. All networks showed a compartmentalized pattern. There was a positive relation between diet and the diversity of endoparasites. Our analyses also demonstrated that phylogeny and the use of micro-habitat influenced the composition of species of endoparasites and diet pattern of lizards. The principal factor that explained the modularity of the network was the foraging strategy, with segregation between the "active foragers" and "sit-and-wait" lizards. Our analyses also demonstrated that historical (phylogeny) and ecological factors (use of micro-habitat by the lizards) influenced the composition of parasite communities. These results corroborate other studies with ectoparasites, which indicate phylogeny and micro-habitat as determinants in the composition of parasitic fauna. The influence of phylogeny can be the result of coevolution between parasites and lizards in the Caatinga, and the influence of micro-habitat should be a result of adaptations of species of parasites to occupy the same categories of micro-habitats as hosts, thus favoring contagion.
In light of these results, we recommend (i) development of management plans for a sustainable and rational use of Tupinambis merianae reducing the possible pressure on this species; and (ii) more studies be focused on the use of OTM and other natural products derived from animals that are used to treat other illnesses.
Parasites are natural regulators of their host populations. Despite this, little is known about variations in parasite composition (spatially or temporally) in environments subjected to water-related periodic stress such as the arid and semiarid regions. The objective of this study was to evaluate the spatial-temporal variation in endoparasite species' abundance and richness in populations of Neotropical Cnemidophorus ocellifer, Tropidurus hispidus, and Tropidurus semitaeniatus lizards in the semiarid northeast of Brazil. The location influenced the abundance of parasites in all analyzed lizard species, while season (dry and rainy) only influenced the total abundance for T. hispidus. In all seasons, males significantly showed more endoparasites than females in all lizard species, although for T. hispidus, this difference was only found in the dry season. Seasonal variations affect the abundance patterns of parasites. Likely, variables include environmental variations such as humidity and temperature, which influence the development of endoparasite eggs when outside of the host. Further, the activity of the intermediate hosts and the parasites of heteroxenous life cycles could be affected by an environmental condition. The variation in the abundance of parasites between the sampling areas could be a reflection of variations in climate and physiochemical conditions. Also, it could be due to differences in the quality of the environment in which each host population lives.
Cephalobaenidae constitutes one of the main pentastomid groups infecting the respiratory tract of snakes. Six specimens of Liophis lineatus, a colubrid, were collected by active capture and pitfalls installed on the banks of the Batateiras river, close to its source, in the 'APA -Área de Proteção Ambiental' (a protected environmental area of the 'IBAMA -Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Natural Resources'), and in a remnant of the humid tropical forest 'FLONA -Floresta Nacional do Araripe', both in the municipality of Crato, state of Ceará, Northeast Brazil. Out of the six specimens of L. lineatus examined, only one had its lung infected by the pentastomid Cephalobaena tetrapoda. This represents the first record of C. tetrapoda as a parasite of a snake in Northeast Brazil, as well as the first record of a colubrid, L. lineatus, as a new host for the pentastomid in Brazil.
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