A plot experiment was conducted to investigate the ability of the nematode-trapping fungus Duddingtonia flagrans to reduce the transmission of infective horse strongyle larvae from deposited dung onto surrounding herbage. At three different times during the summer 1995, three groups of horses, naturally infected with large and small strongyles, were fed different doses of D. flagrans spores, while a fourth group of animals served as non-fungal controls. Faeces from all four groups of horses were deposited as artificial dung pats on a parasite-free pasture. Every second week for 8 weeks after dung deposition, a subsample of the herbage surrounding each dung pat was collected and the number of larvae on the grass determined. Also, the larval reduction capacity of the fungus was evaluated by faecal cultures set up from all groups of horses. The faecal cultures showed that a sufficient number of spores of D. flagrans survived passage through the horses alimentary tract to significantly reduce the number of developing larvae. A lower reduction of larval numbers was observed when a different batch of fungal material was used at the beginning of the season. Dry climatic conditions affected the transmission of infective larvae in all groups, resulting in low numbers of larvae on the herbage. During the rainy periods a significant reduction in the number of larvae recovered was observed around all fungal containing pats. There were no significant differences between the number of fungal spares and the level of reduction caused by the fungus.
Veterinary Parasitology, 1997, Vol 73, Issue 3-4, p. 257-266