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Parasites of the whitetail deer (odocoileus virginianus ochrourus). Russell, Lorne James

Abstract

This study was undertaken to determine the parasite complex of the whitetail deer of British Columbia, the frequency of these parasites, and the factors influencing parasitism of these deer. An examination of 69 whitetail deer and 7 mule deer was made for the presence of ectoparasites and endoparasites. Autopsies were performed at various intervals from July 1964 to May 1966. The whitetail deer examined were host to 25 species of parasites including 3 species of lice, 2 species of ticks, 2 louse flies, one bot fly, 4 cestodes, 1 trematode and 11 nematodes. The maximum number of species infesting a single deer was 11. The average number of species per whitetail deer was 5.9. With the exception of the nose bot the frequency of infestation of all species was found to be light. The 7 mule deer examined were host to 22 species of parasites. The maximum in a single deer was 13 and the average number of species per deer was 10.6. Mule deer shared the same ectoparasites as whitetail deer, but harboured much heavier infections of intestinal nematodes and cestodes. Tne bot fly Cepnenemyia jellisoni, the liver fluke Fascioloides magna and larval lungworms were the only parasites found to have any appreciable effect on host tissues. The presence of large numbers of cattle and horses on whitetail winter ranges has not brought about heavy parasite infestations in whitetail deer. The parasitism of whitetail deer was very light in spite of overcrowding of deer, overbrowsed ranges, malnutrition and extremes of climate.

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