Fungus may deter winter ticks on moose

Questions regarding the Flora and Fauna on the island.

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Fungus may deter winter ticks on moose

Post by johnhens »

From The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale:

Researchers at the University of Vermont have found a fungus that they believe could stop tick-bombs, large masses of ticks that attach and feed on moose. Ticks can be a major problem for the moose, they irritate their skin, which causes moose to scratch so much that it damages and remove some of their fur. In Isle Royale, we have seen some moose that have lost or damaged up to 98% of the hair on their body and neck. Research on moose in Maine & New Hampshire suggests that a single moose can have between up to 30,000 – 90,000 ticks which results in severe anemia and may even impact their survival . This natural fungus, called Metarhizium anisopliae, is thought to be deadly to ticks and could theoretically be introduced into the soil to kill ticks in their larval state. The appeal of using this fungus to control winter tick populations is that the fungus doesn’t seem to affect other types of insects. This could be great news for moose!
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