In this research area we are concerned largely with the ecology and control of economically important arthropods which spend all or some portion of their lives parasitising livestock, poultry or companion animals. These parasites feed on their host's blood, body tissues, lymph, tears or sweat or the debris of skin, hair or feathers.
As a result of their feeding activity, arthropod ectoparasites may have a variety of effects on their hosts. Direct harm may be due to blood loss, tissue damage, inflammation of the skin, hypersensitivity, itching, scratching and self-wounding, often accompanied by bacterial infection and hair and wool loss. Ectoparasites also may cause disturbance, resulting in reduced growth and loss of condition because the time spent in avoidance behaviour is lost from grazing or resting. The degree of harm caused may vary considerably and may only be evident at certain times, such as when the host is in poor condition or the parasite density is high. In addition, ectoparasites are important because of their action as vectors of a wide range of pathogens.
Current ectoparasite research
Major themes in this area:
- Essential oils for ectoparasite control
- Control of Psoroptes mites
- Ticks and tick borne disease
- Sheep strike and blow fly ecology
Professor Richard Wall, School of Biological Sciences,University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol, BS8 1TQ, UK