February 4, 2023

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The discovery of a parasite that surprises scientists: - The surprising discovery of a wolf

The discovery of a parasite that surprises scientists: – The surprising discovery of a wolf

There are many factors that influence wolf pack dynamics. Whether a wolf is in the same pack for life, or forms its own pack depends, among other things, on personality and family relationships.

But now scientists have made a surprising discovery: a mind-controlling parasite that makes wolves behave more dangerously. According to CNN.

What does it look like: Toxoplasma gondii parasite. Image: Scientific Image Library/NTB
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11 times more likely

Gray wolves in Yellowstone infected with a parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii were more likely to leave the pack they were born into, or become pack leaders.

Wildlife biologist Kira Cassidy says a wolf is 11 times more likely to leave to hunt than a passive wolf.

The exciting discoveries may help change scientists’ understanding of wolf pack dynamics, which in turn may contribute to improving efforts to preserve important species.

Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. to me Veterinary Institute The parasite is common in a number of mammals in Norway, mainly in cats and sheep.

to me Public Health Institute The risk factors for infection with toxoplasmosis in Norway are as follows:

  • Consumption of raw or unheated meat.
  • Consumption of unwashed vegetables, fruits and berries.
  • Direct contact with cat feces.

become more leaders

Behavioral changes including increased risk-taking, anger and even schizophrenia may be associated with T. gondii infection. And now a recent study in Communications Biology has established that the parasite has an effect on wolves.

Wolves in Yellowstone National Park have been the subject of research for several years, including via cameras, radio tracking collars and blood tests. It is the latter that identified the T. gondii parasite, which is probably the result of sharing habitats with cougars.

Cassidy also stated that an injured wolf was 46 times more likely to become a pack leader.

“We hypothesize that there may be some kind of correlation between boldness caused by T. gondii and more willingness to leave their home range and go into another wolf’s territory, where the kill probability is greater,” says doctoral student Connor Meyer.

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