Exotic lice causing balding in California deer

May 28th, 2013 in Biology / Ecology

California wildlife officials in say an invasion of aggressive lice is causing deer across the state to go bald and is linked to numerous deer deaths.

The reports that since 2009, researchers have collected hair and blood samples from more than 600 deer and elk with symptoms ranging from a scruffy-looking coat to almost complete baldness.

The hair loss has been linked to an invasive species of lice that normally feeds on native to Europe and Asia.

A spike in deer mortality appears to be associated with internal parasites spread by the lice.

Also predators like cougars and coyotes have an easier time hunting deer because of poor health and lack of attentiveness due to their feverish itching.

The in Tuolumne County has been hit the hardest.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

"Exotic lice causing balding in California deer." May 28th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-05-exotic-lice-balding-california-deer.html