Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Processes influencing the distribution of parasite numbers within host populations with special emphasis on parasite-induced host mortalities

  • R. M. Anderson (a1) and D. M. Gordon (a2)

The paper examines the factors which generate various patterns of dispersion in the distribution of parasites within their host populations. Particular emphasis is placed on the role played by chance elements in the growth and decay of parasite populations and on the influence of different types of demographic processes. It is argued that observed distributions are dynamic, rather than static, entities generated by opposing forces, some acting to create over-dispersion and others acting to generate under-dispersion. Monte Carlo simulation experiments, based on probability models of the growth and decay of host and parasite populations, are used to study the dynamics of parasite dispersion. Attention is specifically focused on the role played by parasite-induced host mortality. It is shown that, for certain types of host–parasite associations, convex curves of mean parasite abundance in relation to age (age-intensity curves), concomitant with a decline in the degree of dispersion in the older age classes of hosts, may be evidence of the induction of host mortality by parasite infection. Empirical evidence is examined in light of this prediction. In general, however, simulation studies highlight the technical difficulties inherent in establishing clear evidence of parasite-induced host mortality from ecological studies of hosts and parasites in their natural habitats.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R. M. Anderson (1974). Population dynamics of the cestode Caryophyllaeus laliceps (Pallas, 1781) in the bream (Abramis brama L.). Journal of Animal Ecology 43, 305–21.

R. M. Anderson (1981). Epidemiology of infectious disease agents. In Modern Parasitology (ed. F. E. G. Cox ). Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publishers.

R. M. Anderson , D. M. Gordon , M. J. Crawley & M. P. Hassell (1982). Variability in the abundance of animal and plant species. Nature, London 296, 245–8.

R. M. Anderson & R. M. May (1978). Regulation and stability of host–parasite population interactions: I. Regulatory processes. Journal of Animal Ecology 47, 219–48.

R. M. Anderson & R. M. May (1979). Population biology of infectious diseases: Part I. Nature, London 280, 361–7.

A. Campbell , R. A. Ward & M. B. Garrie (1980). Seasonal activity and frequency distributions of ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting snowshoe hares in Nova Scotia, Canada. Journal of Medical Entomology 17, 22–9.

J. Henricson (1977). The abundance and distribution of Diphyllobothrium dentriticum (Nitzsch) and D. ditremum (Creplin) in the char Salvelinus alpinus. Journal of Fish Biology 11, 231–48.

C. R. Kennedy & R. Burrough (1977). The population biology of two species of eyefluke, Diplostomum gasterostei and Tylodelphys clavata in perch. Journal of Fish Biology 11, 619–33.

R. M. May & R. M. Anderson (1978). Regulation and stability of host–parasite population interactions. II. Destabilizing processes. Journal of Animal Ecology 47, 249–68.

R. M. May & R. M. Anderson (1979). Population biology of infectious diseases: Part II. Nature, London 280, 455–61.

S. E. Randolph (1975). Patterns of distribution of the tick Ixodes trianguliceps Birula on its hosts. Journal of Animal Ecology 44, 451–74.

L. C. Rutledge , R. A. Ward & R. M. Buckwalter (1973). Plasmodium spp: Dispersion of malarial oocyst populations in Anopheline and Culicine mosquitoes. Experimental Parasitology 34, 132–41.

L. R. Taylor (1961). Aggregation, variance and the mean. Nature, London 189, 732–5.

L. R. Taylor & R. A. J. Taylor (1977). Aggregation, migration and population dynamics. Nature, London 265, 415–21.

L. R. Taylor & I. P. Woiwood (1980). Temporal stability as a density-dependent species characteristic. Journal of Animal Ecology 49, 209–24.

L. R. Taylor , I. P. Woiwood & J. N. Perry (1978). The density dependence of spatial behaviour and the rarity of randomness. Journal of Animal Ecology 47, 383406.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 63 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 580 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.