Incidence of sarcoptic mange in bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus)

Hayley J. Stannard, Jack Wolfenden, Eden M. Hermsen, Blaire T. Vallin, Nicole E. Hunter, Julie M. Old

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sarcoptic mange is a threat to bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) in Australia and a major factor contributing to the decline in populations of this species. It is caused by a mite, Sarcoptes scabiei, and if untreated can lead to severe irritation, blindness, starvation and eventual death. Modes of transmission likely occur through direct contact between wombats and indirectly from wombat burrows. Our study aimed to estimate and compare the numbers of bare-nosed wombats at three study sites, and to determine how rainfall, temperature and humidity influenced the incidence of sarcoptic mange in the populations. The abundances of macropods and rabbits were also compared with wombat abundance and sarcoptic mange prevalence at the three study sites. Across the study sites, 1655 bare-nosed wombats were observed. Sarcoptic mange prevalence was between 7.0% and 40.7%, depending on site, season and year. Sarcoptic mange prevalence correlated with yearly rainfall, with a higher incidence of sarcoptic mange occurring in higher-rainfall years. Higher numbers of macropods in the study areas also correlated with higher incidences of sarcoptic mange in the wombat populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Mammalogy
Volume43
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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