Restoring Island Ecosystems: The Potential of Parasites to Control Introduced Mammals

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Introduced mammals such as rats, goats, dogs, and cats present a major threat to the endemic fauna and flora of many oceanic islands. Available empirical evidence suggests that small founding populations that colonize islands only carry a limited subset of the parasite fauna found in mainland or continental populations. Consequently, island populations of these introduced mammals harbor relatively depauperate parasite communities. The high population densities and low genetic variability of the introduced mammal populations on islands may render them vulnerable to invasion and potential control by introduced, host‐specific parasites. Several theoretical and empirical studies suggest that either a parasitic nematode or a virus of low to intermediate pathogenicity might be used as a control agent for rats, goats and other introduced species. The removal or control of these introduced mammals may allow previously endangered populations and habitats to recover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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