We assessed the effect of two pathogens (myxoma virus and Eimeria stiedae) and five macroparasites (gastrointestinal helminth species) of the wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) upon total host body mass and abdominal fat level. Additionally, we assessed the effects of these organisms on the number of foetuses in adult females during the peak breeding period. Both mass of abdominal fat and total body mass of the rabbit were negatively associated with myxoma virus infection and increasing helminth species richness. Total body mass was also negatively associated with the protozoan parasite E. steidae. No relationship was found between any of the parasites/pathogens and the number of foetuses in adult females, although only relatively small sample sizes were available for this section of the analysis. Increasing host body mass was positively associated with number of foetuses and we propose that mass reduction caused by the pathogen and parasite species could also have the consequence of reducing foetal number.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases