Spatial distribution and spread of sheep biting lice, Bovicola ovis, from point infestations

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1999
Authors:P. J. James, Moon R. D.
Journal:Veterinary parasitology
Pagination:323 - 339
Date Published:1999
ISBN Number:0304-4017
Keywords:abdomen, Analysis of Variance, animals, Back/parasitology, head, Lice Infestations/parasitology/veterinary, Linear Models, Mallophaga, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, sheep, Sheep Diseases/parasitology, Skin/parasitology, wool

The spatial distribution of chewing lice (Bovicola ovis) on their hosts was examined in Polypay and Columbia ewes initially artificially infested on the midside or the neck. Densities of lice were determined at 69 body sites in eight body regions at approximately monthly intervals for 2 years. In the second year, half of the ewes were mated and lice were counted at 26 body sites on the resulting lambs. Polypay ewes had higher densities of lice than Columbias at most inspections but there was little effect of infestation point or mating on either numbers or the distribution of lice. During periods of high louse numbers densities were generally greatest on the sides or the back. Densities on the head were also high at times and peaked later than overall louse densities. Shearing markedly reduced density but increased the proportion of lice found on the neck, belly and lowleg sites. The distribution of lice on the lambs was similar to that on the ewes except that fewer lice were found on the head. Comparisons of lice per part with the numbers of lice extracted from clipped patches indicated that a sheep with wool bearing area of 1 m2 and a mean count of one louse per 10 cm fleece parting carried approximately 2000 lice. At most times of the year inspections for sheep lice should be concentrated on the sides and back, but in recently shorn sheep greater attention should be paid to the lower neck and ventral regions. Implications of the observed distributions of lice for the efficacy of chemical treatments are discussed.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith