Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Domestic mammals transmit parasites to native mammals better than feral mammals

Landaeta-Aqueveque, C., Henríquez, A., & Cattan, P. E. (2014). Introduced species: domestic mammals are more significant transmitters of parasites to native mammals than are feral mammals. International Journal for Parasitology.

The study of parasitism related to biological invasion has focused on attributes and impacts of parasites as invaders and the impact of introduced hosts on endemic parasitism. Thus, there is currently no study of the attributes of hosts which influence the invasiveness of parasites. We aimed to determine whether the degree of domestication of introduced mammalian species – feral introduced mammals, livestock or pets, hereafter ‘D’ – is important in the spillover of introduced parasites. The literature on introduced parasites of mammals in Chile was reviewed. We designed an index for estimating the relevance of the introduced host species to parasite spillover and determined whether the D of introduced mammals predicted this index. A total of 223 introduced parasite species were found. Our results indicate that domestic mammals have a higher number of introduced parasites and spillover parasites, and the index indicates that these mammals, particularly pets, are more relevant introducers than introduced feral mammals. Further analyses indicated that the higher impact is due to higher parasite richness, a longer time since introduction and wider dispersal, as well as how these mammals are maintained. The greater relevance of domestic mammals is important given that they are basically the same species distributed worldwide and can become the main transmitters of parasites to native mammals elsewhere. This finding also underlines the feasibility of management in order to reduce the transmission of parasites to native fauna through anti-parasitic treatment of domestic mammals, animal-ownership education and the prevention of importing new parasite species.

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