Skip to main content Accessibility help

The influence of water on the migration of infective trichostrongyloid larvae onto grass

  • J. van DIJK (a1) and E. R. MORGAN (a1)


Detailed knowledge of the effects of water on the migration of infective larvae of economically important trichostrongyloid species is urgently needed to feed into prediction models of future epidemiology. The influence of water on the migration of the parasitic nematodes Nematodirus battus, Haemonchus contortus and Teladorsagia circumcincta from sheep dung onto grass was examined in a series of laboratory experiments. Turf plots were seeded with larvae, which were recovered from grass clippings by serial sampling. Free water was necessary for larvae to escape from dung, but not for vertical migration onto grass. When temperature and relative humidity were held constant, the proportion of a population of live larvae present on herbage reached a plateau of around 2 (1–10)% after 24 h, and then changed little over time. Larvae in soil and dung formed a reservoir, such that a similar proportion of the larval population was maintained on grass after clipping. These findings suggest continuing random movement of free larvae. Implications for the epidemiology of trichostrongyloid species are discussed in the context of trade-offs faced by the parasites.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Present address: Institute of Infection and Global Health, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1517946087. Fax: +44 (0) 1517946065. E-mail:


Hide All
Agyei, A. D. (1997). Seasonal changes in the level of infective strongylate nematode larvae on pasture in the coastal savanna regions of Ghana. Veterinary Parasitology 70, 175182.
Amaradasa, B. S., Lane, R. A. and Manage, A. (2010). Vertical migration of Haemonchus contortus infective larvae on Cynodon dactylon and Paspalum notatum pastures in response to climatic conditions. Veterinary Parasitology 170, 7887.
Barth, D., Karrer, M. and Heinze-Mutz, E. M. (1995). Significance of moisture content of dung pats for colonisation and degradation of cattle dung. Applied Parasitology 36, 1121.
Bryan, R. P. and Kerr, J. D. (1989). Factors affecting the survival and migration of the free-living stages of gastrointestinal nematode parasites of cattle in central Queensland. Veterinary Parasitology 30, 315326.
Callinan, A. P. L. and Westcott, J. M. (1986). Vertical distribution of trichostrongylid larvae on herbage and in soil. International Journal for Parasitology 16, 241244.
Chiejina, S. N. and Fakae, B. B. (1989). The ecology of infective larvae of bovine gastrointestinal trichostrongylids in dry season contaminated pastures in the Nigerian derived savanna. Journal of Helminthology 63, 127139.
Crofton, H. D. (1948). The ecology of immature phases of trichostrongyle nematodes. Parasitology 39, 1725.
Eysker, M., Bakker, N., Kooyman, F. N. J. and Ploeger, H. W. (2005). The possibilities and limitations of evasive grazing as a control measure for parasitic gastroenteritis in small ruminants in temperate climates. Veterinary Parasitology 129, 95104.
Eysker, M. and Kooyman, F. N. J. (1993). Notes on necropsy and herbage processing techniques for gastrointestinal nematodes of ruminants. Veterinary Parasitology 46, 205213.
Fakae, B. B. and Chiejina, S. N. (1988). Further studies on the development and availability of infective larvae of bovine gastrointestinal trichostrongylids on pasture in eastern Nigeria. Veterinary Parasitology 28, 143152.
Fenton, A. and Rands, S. A. (2004). Optimal parasite infection strategies: a state-dependant approach. International Journal for Parasitology 34, 813821.
Garcia Romero, C., Valcarcel, F. and Rojo Vazquez, F. A. (1997). Influence of climate on pasture infectivity of ovine trichostrongyles in dry pastures. Jounal of Veterinary Medicine 44, 437443.
Grenfell, B. T., Smith, G. and Anderson, R. M. (1986). Maximum-likelihood estimates of the mortality and migration rates of the infective larvae of Ostertagia ostertagi and Cooperia oncophora. Parasitology 92, 643652.
Hennessy, K. J., Gregory, J. M. and Mitchell, J. F. B. (1997). Changes in daily precipitation under enhanced greenhouse conditions. Climate Dynamics 13, 667680.
Hutchings, M. R., Judge, J., Gordon, I. J., Athanasiadou, S. and Kyriazakis, I. (2006). Use of trade-off theory to advance understanding of herbivore-parasite interactions. Mammal Review 36, 116.
Jagdale, G. B. and Grewal, P. S. (2006). Infection behaviour and overwintering survival of foliar nematodes, Aphelenchoides fragariae, on Hosta. Journal of Nematology 38, 130136.
Krecek, R. C., Groeneveld, H. T. and Maritz, J. I. (1992). A preliminary study of the effect of microclimate on third-stage larvae of Haemonchus contortus and Haemonchus placei on irrigated pastures. International Journal for Parasitology 22, 747752.
Krecek, R. C., Murrell, K. D. and Douglass, L. W. (1990). Effects of microclimatic variables on the availability and movement of third-stage larvae of Ostertagia ostertagi on herbage. Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research 57, 133135.
Marley, C. L., Fraser, M. D., Roberts, J. E., Fychan, R. and Jones, R. (2006). Effects of legume forages on ovine gastrointestinal parasite development, migration and survival. Veterinary Parasitology 138, 308317.
Morgan, E. R., Shakenov, B., Torgerson, P. R., Medley, G. F. and Milner-Gulland, E. J. (2005). Helminths of saiga antelope in Kazakhstan: implications for conservation and livestock production. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 41, 149162.
Niven, P., Anderson, N. and Vizard, A. L. (2002). Trichostrongylid infections in sheep after rainfall during summer in southern Australia. Australian Veterinary Journal 80, 567570.
O'Connor, L. J., Kahn, L. P. and Walkden-Brown, S. W. (2007). Moisture requirements for the free-living development of Haemonchus contortus: Quantitative and temporal effects under conditions of low evaporation. Veterinary Parasitology 150, 128138.
O'Connor, L. J., Kahn, L. P. and Walkden-Brown, S. W. (2008). Interaction between the effects of evaporation rate and amount of simulated rainfall on development of the free-living stages of Haemonchus contortus. Veterinary Parasitology 155, 223234.
O'Connor, L. J., Walkden-Brown, S. W. and Kahn, L. P. (2006). Ecology of the free-living stages of major trichostrongylid parasites of sheep. Veterinary Parasitology 142, 115.
Onyali, I. O., Onwurili, C. O. E. and Ajayi, J. A. (1990). Development and survival of Haemonchus contortus larvae on pasture at Vom, Plateau State, Nigeria. Veterinary Research Communications 14, 211216.
Rees, G. (1950). Observations on the vertical migration of the third-stage larva of Haemonchus contortus (Rud.) on experimental plots of Lilium perenne S24, in relation to meteorological and micrometeorological factors. Parasitology 40, 127143.
Rose, J. H. and Small, A. J. (1985). The distribution of infective larvae of sheep gastrointestinal nematodes in soil and on herbage and the vertical migration of Trichostrongylus vitrinus larvae through the soil. Journal of Helminthology 59, 127135.
Silangwa, S. M. and Todd, A. C. (1964). Vertical migration of trichostrongylid larvae on grasses. Journal of Parasitology 50, 278285.
Silva, B. F., Amarante, M. R. V., Kadri, S. M., Carrijo-Mauad, J. R. and Amarante, A. F. T. (2008). Vertical migration of Haemonchus contortus third stage larvae on Brachiaria decumbens grass. Veterinary Parasitology 158, 8592.
Sissay, M. M., Uggla, A. and Waller, P. J. (2007). Epidemiology and seasonal dynamics of gastrointestinal nematode infections of sheep in a semi-arid region of eastern Ethiopia. Veterinary Parasitology 143, 311321.
Skinner, W. D. and Todd, K. S. (1980). Lateral migration of Haemonchus contortus larvae on pasture. American Journal of Veterinary Research 41, 395398.
Stromberg, B. E. (1997). Environmental factors influencing transmission. Veterinary Parasitology 72, 247264.
Sturrock, R. F. (1965). The control of trichostrongyle larvae (Nematoda) by fumigation in relation to their bionomics. 1. Bionomics results. Parasitology 55, 2944.
Tapiador, F. J., Sanchez, E. and Gaertner, M. A. (2007). Regional changes in precipitation in Europe under an increased greenhouse emission scenario. Geophysical Research Letters 34, L06701.
Van Dijk, J., David, G. P., Baird, G. and Morgan, E. R. (2008). Back to the future: Developing hypotheses on the effects of climate change on ovine parasitic gastroenteritis from historical data. Veterinary Parasitology 158, 7384.
Van Dijk, J., de Louw, M. D. E., Kalis, L. P. A. and Morgan, E. R. (2009). Ultraviolet light increases mortality of nematode larvae and can explain patterns of larval availability at pasture. International Journal for Parasitology 39, 11511156.
Van Dijk, J. and Morgan, E. R. (2008). The influence of temperature on the development, hatching and survival of Nematodirus battus larvae. Parasitology 135, 269283.
Van Dijk, J. and Morgan, E. R. (2010). Variation in the hatching behaviour of Nematodirus battus: polymorphic bet hedging? International Journal for Parasitology 40, 675681.
Van Dijk, J., Sargison, N. D., Kenyon, F. and Skuce, P. J. (2010). Climate change and infectious disease: helminthological challenges to farmed ruminants in temperate regions. Animal 4, 377392.
Williams, J. C. and Bilkovich, F. R. (1973). Distribution of Ostertagia ostertagi infective larvae on pasture herbage. American Journal of Veterinary Research 34, 13371344.
Yamada, Y. and Oshima, Y. (2003). Distribution and movement of Caenorhabditis elegans on a thermal gradient. Journal of Experimental Biology 206, 25812593.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

The influence of water on the migration of infective trichostrongyloid larvae onto grass

  • J. van DIJK (a1) and E. R. MORGAN (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.