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Linking weather conditions and winter tick abundance in moose

Pouchet Catherine, Fernandez‐Prada Christopher, Dussault Christian, Leclerc Martin, Tremblay Jean‐Pierre et Côté Steeve D.. (2024). Linking weather conditions and winter tick abundance in moose. The Journal of Wildlife Management, e22551.

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Climate change may modify species distribution to higher latitudes, resulting in potential changes of parasite diversity and transmission dynamics in areas where animals might not be locally adapted to these new parasite species. In addition, climate change may increase the frequency and severity of infestations of parasites that are already present in a region, by promoting the development and survival of infectious stages. Over the last decades, the number of moose ( Alces americanus ) infested by winter ticks ( Dermacentor albipictus ) has increased in eastern Canada, possibly because milder climatic conditions are increasing winter tick survival. Our main objective was to determine which meteorological variables are more likely to influence winter tick load on moose. We compiled several weather variables that may limit winter tick survival and explored which weather variables, or their interactions, influenced the winter tick load of 4,100 hunted moose from 2013 to 2019 in Québec, Canada along a latitudinal gradient. Winter tick load in fall decreased with the maximum number of consecutive days in spring with average daily temperatures below −15°C and with the number of consecutive days in summer with a relative humidity <80% when snowmelt in spring was earlier. These results suggest that cold temperatures and prolonged periods of low humidity, amplified by early snowmelt, limit the survival of adult female ticks and eggs, thus limiting their subsequent load on moose during the following fall. With climate change, precipitation increases and warm temperatures occur earlier in spring and are more frequent in summer. Our results suggest that climate change may have a positive long‐term influence on winter tick abundance in the environment and thereby increase winter tick load on moose, which could lead to a significant decrease in moose body condition and survival.

Type de document:Article publié dans une revue avec comité d'évaluation
Version évaluée par les pairs:Oui
Date:4 Février 2024
Identifiant unique:10.1002/jwmg.22551
Sujets:Sciences naturelles et génie > Sciences appliquées > Climatologie et météorologie
Sciences naturelles et génie > Sciences naturelles > Biologie et autres sciences connexes
Département, module, service et unité de recherche:Départements et modules > Département des sciences fondamentales
Unités de recherche > Centre de recherche sur la Boréalie (CREB)
Mots-clés:Alces americanus, climate change, Dermacentor albipictus, moose, parasitic load, weather conditions, winter tick
Déposé le:06 févr. 2024 16:41
Dernière modification:06 févr. 2024 16:41
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