Negative effect of the arthropod parasite, Sarcoptes scabiei, on testes mass in Iberian ibex, Capra pyrenaica

Mathieu Sarasa, Emmanuel Serrano, Ramón C. Soriguer, José Enrique Granados, Paulino Fandos, Georges Gonzalez, Jean Joachim, Jesús M. Pérez

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Testes mass is a key factor in male reproductive success and is potentially exposed to so-called 'parasitic castration'. This is the result of the direct destruction or alteration of reproductive cell lineages (parasitic castration sensu stricto), or the indirect detrimental effects - for example, via body condition - on the ability of progenitors to produce or rear offspring (parasitic castration sensu lato). There are enormous gaps in our knowledge on the effects of parasites on the testes of wild mammals and in an attempt to rectify this dearth of data we examined the relationship between the skin parasite Sarcoptes scabiei and testes mass in Iberian ibex Capra pyrenaica. We considered data from 222 males that were culled in the population from the Sierra Nevada in Spain. Our results provide evidence that sarcoptic mange is associated with reduced size-corrected testes mass in Iberian ibex which supports the hypothesis that parasitism is a determining factor in gonad plasticity in male mammals. We discuss several hypothetical causes of this relationship and highlight the need to deepen the sub-lethal effects of pathogens if we are to accurately understand their modulator effects on host population dynamics. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-312
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2011


  • Capra pyrenaica
  • Parasitic castration
  • Sarcoptes scabiei
  • Sarcoptic mange
  • Testis
  • Ungulate


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