New publication: Hair Cortisol Concentration and Body Mass in Moose (Alces alces) Infested with Deer Keds (Lipoptena cervi)

By Knut Madslien, Solveig Marie Stubsjøen, Hildegunn Viljugrein, Bjørnar Ytrehus, Erling Johan Solberg, Lucy Kapronczai, Atle Mysterud, Jacques Godfroid, David M. Janz, and Marc Cattet in Journal of Wildlife Diseases


The deer ked (Lipoptena cervi), a hematophagous ectoparasite of cervids, is currently spreading in Scandinavia, and the moose (Alces alces) is its main host. However, little is known about the impact of deer keds on moose. We analyzed the hair cortisol concentration (HCC) from 262 moose harvested in the fall in relation to age class, sex, body mass (BM), and deer ked infestation intensity, and BM in relation to age class, sex, and infestation intensity. We found that HCC decreased with increasing deer ked intensity at low ked intensities, but for the higher levels of ked intensities, there was a positive relationship between HCC and ked intensity. The HCC was higher in males than in females and lower in yearlings than in calves and adults. Our failure to find any association between BM and deer ked intensity suggested a negligible impact of deer ked infestation on moose foraging and metabolism at the level of infestation observed early in the infestation, but did not exclude an effect later in winter. Our findings suggested that moose generally tolerated moderate parasitism by keds. However, the increase in HCC at higher ked intensities suggested that the tolerance strategy could be disrupted with further increases in intensities and consequently may negatively affect animal health and welfare.

Journal of Wildlife Diseases
July 2020, Vol. 56, No. 3, pp. 687-692
DOI: 10.7589/2019-07-185
Publication webpage.

Knut Madslien, Solveig Marie Stubsjøen, Hildegunn Viljugrein, Bjørnar Ytrehus, Erling Johan Solberg, Lucy Kapronczai, Atle Mysterud*, Jacques Godfroid, David M. Janz, and Marc Cattet

* Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway. See the publication webpage for full author information.

Tags: Journal of Wildlife Diseases;
Published Aug. 26, 2020 12:11 PM - Last modified Mar. 5, 2021 9:34 AM