Date of Award
Dr. Carla Penz
Dr. Phil DeVries
Dr. Simon Lailvaux
This study examined variation in ectoparasite density and grooming behavior of naturally occurring white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in southwest Alabama. Stimulus-driven grooming as well as the intraspecific body size and vigilance principles of programmed grooming were tested. During the rut, males had a higher average tick (Ixodidae) density than females and exhibited complete separation of tick parasitism between non-rutting and rutting periods, supporting the vigilance principle. Stimulus-driven grooming was supported, as both fawns and yearlings had significantly higher fly (Hippoboscidae) and combined fly/tick densities than adults, and fawns oral groomed at a significantly higher rate than adults, even in the absence of allogrooming. Programmed and stimulus-driven grooming of deer examined in this study were not mutually exclusive but ectoparasite dependent.
Heine, Kyle, "Chasin’ Tail in Southern Alabama: Delineating Programmed and Stimulus-driven Grooming in Odocoileus virginianus" (2015). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 2038.