|HOME SCHEDULE AUTHOR INDEX SUBJECT INDEX|
Removal of intestinal nematodes in wild populations of Peromyscus leucopus: Effects on behavior and survival.
Pedersen, Amy*,1, Antonovics, Janis1, 1 University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
ABSTRACT- Intestinal parasites can directly affect their hosts by causing mortality or sterility, or indirectly by changing behavior, increasing susceptibility to predation or modifying competitive interactions. Recent studies have shown that these effects can have substantial impacts on host population mortality and recruitment. Here we investigate how intestinal parasites can directly affect host survival and fecundity, and may also change activity patterns and behavior. In wild populations of the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) at the Mountain Lake Biological Station, we removed intestinal nematodes using Ivermectin from individuals and estimated the effects on survival, fecundity and activity patterns. We followed treated and control mice throughout the summer and measured survival, fecundity, intestinal parasite intensity and diversity, and changes in behavior. Intestinal parasites were shown to have a significant effect on activity patterns such as horizontal and vertical movement in the white-footed mouse. In addition, Ivermectin treated mice had lower intestinal nematode prevalence, diversity and intensity. These results may have important implications for the impact of intestinal nematodes on wild mouse population dynamics.
Key words: Peromyscus, parasites, behavior