Parasitization of plains zebras and the endangered Grevy’s zebras

Aug. 2, 2018

Undergraduate Lindsay Martinez spent her summer working on her senior thesis project at the Mpala Research Centre in Kenya. She is looking at the parasitization of plains zebras and the endangered Grevy’s zebras by a gastrointestinal parasite called a strongyle. To study the intensity of infection with strongyles she opportunistically collected fresh dung from the zebras and then used a lab method called the McMaster technique to quantify how many parasite eggs were shed through each gram of the zebras’ dung. During her field days, Martinez was lucky to spend hours observing zebra behavior and learning about the personalities of different individuals. She found it especially funny that zebras are very itchy, and they often roll in the dirt to get at their itches.