Seasonal dynamics and variation among sheep in densities of the sheep biting louse, Bovicola ovis

James, P.J., Moon, R.D. and Brown, D.R. (1998) Seasonal dynamics and variation among sheep in densities of the sheep biting louse, Bovicola ovis. International Journal for Parasitology, 28 2: 283-292. doi:10.1016/S0020-7519(97)00188-4

Author James, P.J.
Moon, R.D.
Brown, D.R.
Title Seasonal dynamics and variation among sheep in densities of the sheep biting louse, Bovicola ovis
Journal name International Journal for Parasitology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0020-7519
Publication date 1998-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/S0020-7519(97)00188-4
Volume 28
Issue 2
Start page 283
End page 292
Total pages 10
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Abstract Cyclic patterns and variations among sheep in numbers of Bovicola ovis are described in Polypay and Columbia ewes that were initially infested with equal numbers of lice and penned indoors continuously for 2 years. Bovicola ovis populations were censused at 3-4-week intervals at 69 body sites on each animal. In the second year of the study, the ewes were reinfested and half were mated. Louse populations were monitored on the resulting lambs from birth until 25 weeks of age. Strong seasonal cycles in louse numbers were observed on the ewes, with peaks in spring and troughs in summer. These cycles occurred in the absence of shearing, direct solar radiation or rainfall. Populations began to decline when daily mean and maximum temperatures were 11.5°C and 15°C, respectively, well below temperatures thought to cause warm season decline. Louse densities on Polypay ewes were approximately 10 times higher than on Columbias at most inspections. There were also large differences among sheep within breeds and sheep counts were highly correlated among dates, both within and between years. One third of the ewes failed to become infested despite having lice applied on five separate occasions and being penned together with other infested sheep. Pregnancy and lactation did not significantly affect louse numbers on the ewes. There was a significant negative correlation between louse counts and weight gains in the lambs, and lamb counts were significantly correlated with those of their dams up until, but not after, weaning. It is suggested that sheep may exert regulatory influences on lice which contribute to cycles in B. ovis populations.
Keyword Mallophaga
Population dynamics
Sheep susceptibility
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 18 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 07 Mar 2011, 15:11:30 EST