The protostrongylid nematode Elaphostrongylus rangiferi parasitizes reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) and may cause severe disease and death. A relationship between particularly warm summers and the occurrence of the parasite has been suggested. The hypotheses of a positive relationship between the abundance of the parasite and summer warmth were tested by yearly examination of the density of larvae of E. rangiferi in faeces of reindeer in northern Norway. In addition to summer temperature, summer precipitation and reindeer density were included. The abundance of the parasite increased with increasing summer temperature. It is predicted that warming of the Arctic will increase the abundance of E. rangiferi and cause more disease and death in reindeer.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Ball MC, Lankester MW, Shane PM (2001) Factors affecting the distribution and transmission of Elaphostrongylus rangiferi (Protostrongylidae) in caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) of Newfoundland, Canada. Can J Zool 79:1265–1277. doi:10.1139/cjz-79-7-1265
Gaudernack G, Halvorsen O, Skorping A, Stokkan KA (1984) Humoral immunity and output of first-stage larvae of Elaphostrongylus rangiferi (Nematoda, Metastrongyloidea) by infected reindeer, Rangifer tarandus tarandus. J Helminthol 58:13–18
Halvorsen O, Skorping A (1982) The influence of temperature on growth and development of the nematode Elaphostrongylus rangiferi in the gastropods Arianta arbustorum and Euconulus fulvus. Oikos 38:285–290
Halvorsen O, Wissler K (1983) Methods for estimating the density of Elaphostrongylus rangiferi Mitskevich (Nematoda, Metastrongyloidea) larvae in faeces from reindeer, Rangifer tarandus L. Rangifer 3:33–39
Halvorsen O, Andersen J, Skorping A, Lorentzen G (1980) Infection in reindeer with the nematode Elaphostrongylus rangiferi Mitskevich in relation to climate and distribution of intermediate hosts. In: Reimers E, Gaare E, Skjenneberg S (eds) Proceedings of the second international reindeer/caribou symposium. Direktoratet for Vilt og Ferskvannsfisk, Trondheim, pp 449–455
Halvorsen O, Skorping A, Hansen K (1985) Seasonal cycles in the output of first stage larvae of the nematode Elaphostrongylus rangiferi from reindeer, Rangifer tarandus tarandus. Polar Biol 5:49–54
Handeland K, Slettbakk T (1994) Outbreaks of clinical cerebrospinal elaphostrongylosis in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) in Finnmark, Norway, and their relation to climatic conditions. J Vet Med B 41:407–410
Handeland K, Skorping A, Stuen S, Slettbakk T (1994) Experimental studies of Elaphostrongylus rangiferi in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus): clinical observations. Rangifer 14:83–87
Harvell CD, Mitchell CE, Ward JR, Altizer S, Dobson AP, Ostfeld RS, Samuel MD (2002) Climate warming and disease risk for terrestrial and marine biota. Science 296:2158–2162
Hassol SJ (2004) Impacts of a warming Arctic: Arctic climate impact assesment. Cambrigde University Press, Cambrigde
Hudson PJ, Dobson AP (1995) Macroparasites: observed patterns in naturally fluctuating animal populations. In: Grenfell BT, Dobson AP (eds) Ecology of infectious diseases in natural populations. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 144–176
Hudson PJ, Cattadori IM, Boag B, Dobson AP (2006) Climate disruption and parasite—host dynamics: patterns and processes associated with warming and the frequency of extreme climatic events. J Helminthol 80:175–182. doi:10.1079/JOH2006357
Jenkins EJ, Veitch AM, Kutz SJ, Hoberg EP, Polley L (2006) Climate change and the epidemiology of protostrongylid nematodes in northern ecosystems: Parelaphostrongylus odocoilei and Protostrongylus stilesi in Dall’s sheep (Ovis d. dalli). Parasitology 132:387–401. doi:10.1017/S0031182005009145
Kutz SJ, Hoberg EP, Polley L, Jenkins EJ (2005) Global warming is changing the dynamics of Arctic host-parasite systems. Proc R Soc B 272:2571–2576. doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3285
Lafferty KD (2009) The ecology of climate change and infectious diseases. Ecology 90:888–900
Lankester MW (2001) Extrapulmonary lungworms of cervids. In: Samuel WM, Pybus MJ, Kocan AA (eds) Parasitic diseases of wild mammals, 2nd edn. Manson Publishing, London, pp 228–278
Lorentzen G, Halvorsen O (1986) Survival of the first stage larva of the metastrongyloid nematode Elaphostrongylus rangiferi under various conditions of temperature and humidity. Holarctic Ecol 9:301–304
Skorping A (1982) Elaphostrongylus rangiferi: influence of temperature, substrate, and larval age on the infection rate in the intermediate host, Arianta arbustorum. Exp Parasitol 54:222–228
Skorping A (1984) Density-dependent effects in a parasitic nematode, Elaphostrongylus rangiferi, in the snail intermediate host. Oecologia 64:34–40
Skorping A (1985) Parasite-induced reduction in host survival and fecundity: the effect of the nematode Elaphostrongylus rangiferi on the snail intermediate host. Parasitology 91:555–562
Venables WN, Ripley BD (2002) Modern applied statistics with S, 4th edn. Springer Science+Business Media, New York
The field and laboratory work was carried out at the University of Tromsø, while the digitalization of data and analysis and writing were done at the University of Oslo. I thank Ingos Matte Siida and Ravna Jon Siida for permitting the use of their reindeer and help with the sampling. I thank T. Kaino, S. Kaino, E. Andersen, K. Bye and W. Hemmingsen who assisted in laboratory and field work. G. Halvorsen helped building the database. Drs S. Albon, N. Chr. Stenseth and A. Stien gave constructive comments on drafts of the manuscript. Financial support was received from The Research Council of Norway and Reindriftens utviklingsfond.
Electronic supplementary material
Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
About this article
Cite this article
Halvorsen, O. Reindeer parasites, weather and warming of the Arctic. Polar Biol 35, 1749–1752 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-012-1209-0
- Elaphostrongylus rangiferi
- Summer temperature
- Global warming