Livers from 4,501 deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) collected from a weedy habitat in northeastern California during 48 consecutive monthly samplings were examined microscopically for Taenia taeniaeformis larva. Although there were pronounced seasonal fluctuations in host density, there were no significant annual or season-related differences in cestode intensities in adult deer mice. There were no significant differences in prevalences associated with sex of the host, nor were there significant changes in level of reproduction noted between infected and non-infected hosts. There were, however, significant differences in prevalences between young (1.2%) and adult (4.2%) hosts. Plausible mechanisms for this age-related difference in prevalence rates include (1) differential susceptibility due to the activity pattern of adult mice and/or (2) passive immunity in neonates as a result of colostrum- and/or transplacentally-transferred immunoglobulins and (3) capture of subadult animals before they had completed the period of highest susceptibility to T. taeniaeformis. Density of larvae per mouse liver was determined during a 21 mo consecutive period. The intensity of T. taeniaeformis larvae was not significantly different between the sexes of the adult mice. The larval stage showed an overdispersion pattern within the adult population. These results suggest that determinations of T. taeniaeformis abundances can be accurately made, at least in this P. maniculatus population, at any time of the year provided adjustment is made for the relative age structure of the host population.
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Vol. 28 • No. 1