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Sarcoptic mange breaks up bottom-up regulation of body condition in a large herbivore population

AuthorsCarvalho, João; Granados, José E.; López-Olvera, Jorge R. ; Cano-Manuel, Francisco Javier; Pérez, Jesús M.; Fandos, Paulino; Soriguer, Ramón C. ; Velarde, Roser; Fonseca, Carlos; Ráez, Arian; Espinosa, José; Pettorelli, N.; Serrano, Emmanuel
KeywordsCapra pyrenaica
Host-parasite relationships
Iberian ibex
Remote sensing
Arcoptes scabiei
Issue Date2015
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationParasites and Vectors 8: 572 (2015)
Abstract[Background] Both parasitic load and resource availability can impact individual fitness, yet little is known about the interplay between these parameters in shaping body condition, a key determinant of fitness in wild mammals inhabiting seasonal environments.
[Methods] Using partial least square regressions (PLSR), we explored how temporal variation in climatic conditions, vegetation dynamics and sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei) severity impacted body condition of 473 Iberian ibexes (Capra pyrenaica) harvested between 1995 and 2008 in the highly seasonal Alpine ecosystem of Sierra Nevada Natural Space (SNNS), southern Spain.
[Results] Bottom-up regulation was found to only occur in healthy ibexes; the condition of infected ibexes was independent of primary productivity and snow cover. No link between ibex abundance and ibex body condition could be established when only considering infected individuals.
[Conclusions] The pernicious effects of mange on Iberian ibexes overcome the benefits of favorable environmental conditions. Even though the increase in primary production exerts a positive effect on the body condition of healthy ibexes, the scabietic individuals do not derive any advantage from increased resource availability. Further applied research coupled with continuous sanitary surveillance are needed to address remaining knowledge gaps associated with the transmission dynamics and management of sarcoptic mange in free-living populations
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-015-1188-4
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