Parasites affect the life-histories and fitness of their hosts. It has been demonstrated that the ability of the immune system to cope with parasites partly depends on environmental conditions. In particular, stressful conditions have an immunosuppressive effect and may affect disease resistance. The relationship between environmental stress and parasitism was investigated using a blood parasite of the common lizard Lacerta vivipara. In laboratory cages, density and additional stressors had a significant effect on the intensity of both natural parasitaemia and parasitaemia induced by experimental infection. Four weeks after infection, crowded lizards had three times more parasites than noncrowded lizards. After 1 month of stress treatment, naturally infected lizards had a significantly higher level of plasma corticosterone and a higher parasite load than nonstressed individuals. In seminatural enclosures, stress induced by the habitat quality affected both the natural blood parasite prevalence and the intensity of parasitaemia of the host.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.