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Tick-induced blood loss leads to regenerative anaemia in the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

  • M. PFÄFFLE (a1), T. PETNEY (a1), M. ELGAS (a2), J. SKUBALLA (a1) and H. TARASCHEWSKI (a1)...


Although there is an increasing understanding of the role of parasites in their host dynamics, accurate, quantitative estimates of parasite caused morbidity in wild animals are rare. Here, we examine the possible impact of 2 tick species (Ixodes ricinus, I. hexagonus) on the condition of the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). For this, we tested for correlations between blood parameters of 36 adult hedgehogs from an experimental population enclosed in a natural habitat and their tick infestation over a period of 8 months (March–October 2007). We found correlations between the tick infestation and the concentration of red blood cells, haemoglobin, haematocrit, MCH, MCHC, thrombocytes, lymphocytes and neutrophils. These results indicate that ticks can induce anaemia in the hedgehog. The peripheral blood characteristics and the erythrocyte indices characterize this anaemia as haemorrhagic and regenerative. During the course of our study the hedgehogs of our population showed below normal mortality but morbidity was found to be high resulting from the blood loss caused by the feeding activity of the ticks.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: University of Karlsruhe, Zoological Institute I, Department of Ecology and Parasitology, Kornblumenstrasse 13, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany. Tel: +49 721 6087657. Fax: +49 721 6087655. E-mail:


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Tick-induced blood loss leads to regenerative anaemia in the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus)

  • M. PFÄFFLE (a1), T. PETNEY (a1), M. ELGAS (a2), J. SKUBALLA (a1) and H. TARASCHEWSKI (a1)...


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