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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 10(1)

Establishment of the European Rabbit Flea on Macquarie Island.

IJ Skira, NP Brothers and GR Copson

Australian Wildlife Research 10(1) 121 - 127
Published: 1983


Since December 1968, 241 600 rabbit fleas (Spilopsyllus cuniculi (Dale)) have been released on Macquarie Island (between Australia and Antarctica) as a vector of myxomatosis for the biological control of rabbits. The flea is now established but is unevenly distributed due to its low rate of reproduction and slow rate of spread, especially into small isolated pockets of rabbits. The number of rabbits infested was greatest following the rabbit breeding season. Levels of infestation on individual rabbits were low; of 5135 rabbits shot in 3 years, only 21 carried more than 100 rabbit fleas. Limits to the spread and survival of the fleas on the island are discussed.

Full text doi:10.1071/WR9830121

© CSIRO 1983

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