Energetic costs of parasitism in the Cape ground squirrel Xerus inauris

Michael Scantlebury, J.M. Waterman, M. Hillegass, J.R. Speakman, N.C. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Parasites have been suggested to influence many aspects of host behaviour. Some of these effects may be mediated via their impact on host energy budgets. This impact may include effects on both energy intake and absorption as well as components of expenditure, including resting metabolic rate (RMR) and activity (e.g. grooming). Despite their potential importance, the energy costs of parasitism have seldom been directly quantified in a field setting. Here we pharmacologically treated female Cape ground squirrels (Xerus inauris) with anti-parasite drugs and measured the change in body composition, the daily energy expenditure (DEE) using doubly labelled water, the RMR by respirometry and the proportions of time spent looking for food, feeding, moving and grooming. Post-treatment animals gained an average 19 g of fat or approximately 25 kJ d(-1). DEE averaged 382 kJ d-1 prior to and 375 kJ d-1 post treatment (p> 0.05). RMR averaged 174 kJ d-1 prior to and 217 kJ d-1 post treatment (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2169-2177
Number of pages9
Issue number1622
Publication statusPublished - 07 Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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