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The Effect on a British Wild Rabbit Population (Oryctolagus cuniculus) of Manipulating Myxomatosis

R. C. Trout, J. Ross, A. M. Tittensor and A. P. Fox
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 29, No. 3 (1992), pp. 679-686
DOI: 10.2307/2404476
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2404476
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Effect on a British Wild Rabbit Population (Oryctolagus cuniculus) of Manipulating Myxomatosis
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Abstract

1. Myxomatosis no longer has the dramatic impact on rabbit numbers of the original outbreaks in 1953-55. The influence of the disease on rabbit numbers 25-30 years later was investigated by twice reducing and then restoring the prevalence of myxomatosis in a farmland population. 2. Insecticide was used for 2 years to reduce the numbers of rabbit fleas, the main vector of the disease. Flea numbers were subsequently increased by systematic reintroductions over a further 2 years and the sequence was then repeated. 3. Changes in the prevalence of myxomatosis followed the changes in flea numbers. 4. Rabbit numbers increased by two- to threefold during the flea reduction periods, and fell in the reintroduction periods. 5. The results suggest that the disease still has a considerable influence on rabbit numbers.

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