Regulation and stability of a free-living host-parasite system: Trichostrongylus tenuis in red grouse. I. Monitoring and parasite reduction experiments

P. J. Hudson, D. Newborn, A. P. Dobson

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217 Scopus citations

Abstract

Intensive population studies were conducted for 10 yr on Lagopus lagopus scoticus and the parasitic nematode Trichostrongylus tenuis in N England. Winter loss was the key factor determining changes in grouse numbers, although breeding losses were also important. T. tenuis had an aggregated distribution within the adult grouse population, even though the degree of aggregation was relatively low compared with other parasite systems. Recruitment of parasites into the adult worm population was dependent on grouse density. Both winter loss and breeding losses were correlated with intensity of parasite infection. Experimental reduction in parasite burdens consistently increased breeding production and winter survival of grouse. The red grouse-T. tenuis system exhibits three conditions that will generate population cycles: 1) parasite-induced reduction in grouse breeding production; 2) a low degree of parasite aggregation within the grouse population; and 3) time delays in parasite recruitment. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-486
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume61
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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