Parasites have the potential to influence the population dynamics of mammalian hosts, either as a single devastating pathogen or as a community effect. Striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) are typically host to rabies, which often regulates population numbers. We assessed micro- and macroparasite dynamics in striped skunk populations in the absence of rabies, to determine if a single pathogen, or community, was responsible for a majority of skunk deaths. We monitored mortality due to pathogens, and prevalence of pathogens via serology and necropsy, in two populations of striped skunks in northern Illinois during 1998–2004. Transmissible pathogens requiring direct transmission (i.e., canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus) exhibited high annual variability in prevalence. In contrast, those pathogens employing a more indirect, environmental route of transmission (i.e., Leptospira interrogans and Toxoplasma gondii) appeared to exhibit relatively less annual variability in prevalence. Skunks were diagnosed with infections from an average of 4.08 (SD=2.52, n=32) species of endoparasites, with a range of 1–11. Macroparasite prevalence and intensity did not vary among seasons, or sex or age of host. Severe infections occurred with multiple parasite species, and patterns of aggregation suggested some parasite species, or more likely the parasite community, act as a limiting mechanism in skunk populations.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 46 • No. 2