Scabies is an important disease that affects many species and can greatly reduce population sizes in some species, yet have little effect on populations of other species. Here, we develop an exploratory mechanistic model to examine scabies epidemiology in the context of host demographics. As a starting point, we use empirical estimates from a well-studied coyote population to generate realistic population structures and parameter values for host population demographics and scabies epidemiology. The purpose of this paper is to determine whether our empirical knowledge of coyote demography and scabies epidemiology is sufficient to reproduce the patterns observed, and to highlight those areas where discrepancies exist. Where we find discrepancies, we modify the model to ameliorate the fit to the empirical patterns, as a means of generating hypotheses. We suggest that exploratory excursions by territorial individuals are crucial for maintaining population stability under epidemic conditions. Further, we believe that host evolution probably occurred within the decade of the epidemic. We identify other areas that require further attention, both empirically and theoretically.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecological Modeling
- Allee effect
- Host evolution
- Sarcoptes scabiei