The observation that the total abundance of adult nematodes in the abomasum of Svalbard reindeer increases between
October and April suggests adaptation to cope with the Arctic winter. Here we investigate the extent to which selection
has led to similar life-history strategies in the 3 most numerous trichostrongyle species. The life-histories are found to
differ markedly. We use flexible statistical models for the abundance and dispersion of parasites in the host population.
One of the taxa, Marshallagia marshalli, was most abundant and had its highest egg output in the winter. In contrast,
the abundance of the most common taxa, Ostertagia gruehneri, m. gruehneri was stable or declined from autumn to
late winter, and the closely related taxa, O. gruehneri, m. arcticus, showed a similar over winter drop. The faecal egg
output of these 2 taxa was highest in summer, as found in temperate trichostrongyle species. Despite the apparent
contamination of summer pastures with O. gruehneri, calves showed negligible burdens until their second summer and the
abundance of infection reached an asymptote within their third year. In contrast, the abundance of M. marshalli in calves
showed a rapid increase over the first summer and by late winter was similar to peak levels found in adults (8000 worms).
This increase could not be accounted for by the developing abomasum larvae population and is therefore evidence for
transmission over the winter for this taxa. While M. marshalli showed little between-year variation, O. gruehneri showed
2-fold fluctuation in the abundance of infection. O. gruehneri may therefore play a role in the fluctuating population
dynamics of the host. Since there was no apparent decline in abundance with host age in any of the 3 taxa there was
no evidence of reindeer mounting an immune response.