University of Oulu

Kynkäänniemi, S., Kettu, M., Kortet, R. et al. Acute impacts of the deer ked (Lipoptena cervi) infestation on reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) behaviour. Parasitol Res 113, 1489–1497 (2014).

Acute impacts of the deer ked (Lipoptena cervi) infestation on reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) behaviour

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Author: Kynkäänniemi, Sanna-Mari1; Kettu, Maria1; Kortet, Raine1,2;
Organizations: 1Department of Biology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, FI-90014, Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Science and Forestry, Department of Biology, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101, Joensuu, Finland
3Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Department of Biomedicine/Anatomy, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211, Kuopio, Finland
4Finnish Wildlife Agency, Kiekkotie 4, FI-70200, Kuopio, Finland
5Department of Biological and Environmental Science, Konnevesi Research Station, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014, Jyväskylä, Finland
6University of Helsinki, P. O. Box 33, FI-00014, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2014
Publish Date: 2020-05-05


Blood-sucking ectoparasites have often a strong impact on the behaviour of their hosts. The annual insect harassment of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) has increased in the southern part of the Finnish reindeer herding area because of the recent invasion of a blood-feeding ectoparasitic louse-fly, the deer ked (Lipoptena cervi). We studied the impact of the deer ked on the behaviour of reindeer. Twelve reindeer were infested with a total of 300 keds/reindeer on six occasions in a 5-week period during the deer ked flight season in autumn, while six non-infested reindeer were used as controls. Behavioural patterns indicating potential stress were monitored by visual observation from August to December. The infested reindeer displayed more incidences of restless behaviour than the controls. Shaking and scratching were the most common forms of restless behaviour after infestation of deer keds. Increased grooming was also observed after the transplantation and also later, 1 month after the infestation. Based on the results, the deer ked infestation can cause acute behavioural disturbance in reindeer and, thus, could pose a potential threat to reindeer welfare. Antiparasitic treatment with, e.g. ivermectin, may increase the welfare of parasitized reindeer by reducing deer keds. If the deer ked infestation intensity on the reindeer herding area increases and restless behaviour of reindeer becomes more common, the present results can help in further evaluation of the duration and magnitude of behavioural changes.

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Series: Parasitology research
ISSN: 0932-0113
ISSN-E: 1432-1955
ISSN-L: 0932-0113
Volume: 113
Issue: 4
Pages: 1489 - 1497
DOI: 10.1007/s00436-014-3790-3
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
1172 Environmental sciences
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Copyright information: © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Parasitology Research. The final authenticated version is available online at: