Glen F. Cole

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Parelaphostrongylus tenuis; Deer populations; Zoogeography


P. tenuis is a ubiquitous parasite of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) that can cause mortality in woodland caribou (Rangerifer tarandus) and moose (Alces alces). A hypothesis that P. tenuis prevents overlapping distributions of these species in southern boreal regions was inconsistent with distribution records. A revised hypothesis that P. tenuis does not prevent overlapping distributions if deer exist at natural densities was consistent with these records but did not state the parasite's ecological effects. A hypothesis that P. tenuis allows deer to outcompete woodland caribou or moose on portions of natural environments or in man-modified environments where deer densities are relatively high appeared to be consistent with published accounts of mortality from the parasite and other reviewed literature. Thus, statements that P. tenuis either does or does not prevent or restrict overlapping distributions of woodland caribou or moose with white· tailed deer need to be further qualified.

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