Attempts to recover the infective third-stage larvae of Trichostrongylus tenuis from heather (Calluna vulgaris) vegetation in the field are rarely successful because the larvae may be: (i) concealed within heather leaflets; (ii) concentrated in dew droplets which are lost from the plants upon sampling; or (iii) simply highly aggregated in the field. Heather plants were exposed to T. tenuis larvae in the laboratory and kept under suitable conditions for larval migration. Few larvae were found in dew droplets or concealed within heather leaflets; most larvae were recovered from the plant surface. This suggests that the low larval recovery from vegetation in the field simply reflects a highly aggregated distribution of few larvae. In a second experiment, the efficiency with which infective larvae migrate up the structurally complex heather plants was compared with migration up two control plant species with simpler structures: a monocotyledon, wheat, and a dicotyledon, hebe. After constant exposure, significantly more larvae were recovered from heather than from either of the control plants. This implies that the structural complexity of heather causes no problems for the infective larvae.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology