Chapter

Diseases and Parasites

Dale F. Lott

in American Bison

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233386
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930742 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520233386.003.0012
Diseases and Parasites

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Predators aren't the only exploiters of bison. Like all big organisms they are a resource for hundreds of kinds of tiny life forms that use them in a variety of intriguing ways. And size is no protection at all from very small things; it just makes them a bigger target. Many bison in Yellowstone Park have brucellosis, and it is possible that those bison could transmit the disease to cattle if they occupied the same range at the same time. Most diseases go easy on their host, but anthrax, which arrived in North America from Europe around 1800, is a killer.Bacillus anthracis destroys the bison in a kind of slow explosion, and uses the energy to propel its spores into a search for a new set of lungs. Meanwhile, the winter tick quests for most of North America's large mammals, including bison.

Keywords: parasitism; affliction; Yellowstone Park; brucellosis; cattle; anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; winter tick

Chapter.  4917 words. 

Subjects: Biological Sciences

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