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      Phenology of deer ked (Lipoptena cervi) host-seeking flight activity and its relationship with prevailing autumn weather

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          The deer ked ( Lipoptena cervi) is an ectoparasite on cervids that has invaded large parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland during recent decades. During their host-seeking flight activity, the adult deer keds constitute a considerable nuisance to people and limit human outdoor recreation. The bites of the deer ked can cause long-lasting dermatitis in humans. Determining the pattern of flight activity during autumn is hence important.


          Data on flight phenology was gathered by walking along transects in the forest in two counties of Norway during 2009–2013, counting the number of host-seeking keds. We analysed how the flight activity of deer keds varied depending on date and prevailing weather during autumn.


          The best model of flight activity included both date and temperature, both as nonlinear terms. Host-seeking deer keds were observed from early August to mid-November with a marked peak in late September. Number of host-seeking keds declined with temperatures falling below the mean, but did not increase much at above mean temperatures. The pattern of flight phenology was similar across the two counties and five years.


          Parasitic arthropods may be strongly affected by prevailing weather during off-host periods. Our study shows an estimated positive effect of temperature on deer ked flight activity mainly for below mean temperatures in late autumn, while the effect of temperature on flight activity in early autumn was weak. The pattern of host-seeking flight activity during late, rather than early autumn, is hence more likely to change with ongoing climate change, with a predicted increase in duration of the host-seeking period.

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          Most cited references 29

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            Autumn, the neglected season in climate change research.

            Autumn remains a relatively neglected season in climate change research in temperate and arctic ecosystems. This neglect occurs despite the importance of autumn events, including leaf senescence, fruit ripening, bird and insect migration, and induction of hibernation and diapause. Changes in autumn phenology alter the reproductive capacity of individuals, exacerbate invasions, allow pathogen amplification and higher disease-transmission rates, reshuffle natural enemy-prey dynamics, shift the ecological dynamics among interacting species, and affect the net productivity of ecosystems. We synthesize some of our existing understanding of autumn phenology and identify five areas ripe for future climate change research. We provide recommendations to address common pitfalls in autumnal research as well as to support the conservation and management of vulnerable ecosystems and taxa.
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              Ticks are not Insects: Consequences of Contrasting Vector Biology for Transmission Potential.

              Quantitative analyses of vector-borne parasite systems are dominated by insect systems. In attempts to formulate general statements concerning vectors and their indirectly transmitted parasites, ticks are usually ignored or they are implicitly or explicitly assumed to obey the same rules as insects. Here, Sarah Randolph shows that contrasting biological attributes of these two different arthropod classes (ticks and insects) directly affect their performance as vectors. The equations for estimating their respective potential to transmit parasites differ in important respects, as does the relative impact of each factor on these estimates. These conclusions direct attention towards the empirical field data most appropriate for quantifying the spatially and temporally variable risk of infection from these contrasting vector-borne parasite systems.

                Author and article information

                [ ]Department of Biosciences, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066 Blindern, Oslo, NO-0316 Norway
                [ ]Norwegian Veterinary Institute, P.O. Box 750 Sentrum, Oslo, NO-0106 Norway
                [ ]Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), PO Box 5685 Sluppen, Trondheim, NO-7485 Norway
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasites & Vectors
                BioMed Central (London )
                20 February 2016
                20 February 2016
                : 9
                © Mysterud et al. 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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                phenology, deer ked, invading parasites, climate, temperature, moose


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