Exotic pediculosis and hair-loss syndrome in deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations in California

Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF


Attribute NameValues
  • Infestation with nonnative, “exotic” lice was first noted in Washington black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) in 1994 and has since then spread throughout the western United States. In California, infestation with the exotic louse Damalinia (Cervicola) sp. was first detected in black-tailed deer from northern California in 2004, and, in 2009, the exotic louse species Bovicola tibialis and Linognathus africanus were identified on mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus californicus) in central Sierra Nevada in association with a mortality event. Exotic lice have since been detected in various locations throughout the state. We describe the geographic distribution of these exotic lice within California, using data from 520 live-captured and 9 postmortem-sampled, free-ranging mule deer examined between 2009 and 2014. Data from live-captured deer were used to assess possible associations between louse infestation and host age, host sex, migratory behavior, season, and blood selenium and serum copper concentrations. Damalinia (Cervicola) sp. and B. tibialis lice were distinctively distributed geographically, with D. (Cervicola) sp. infesting herds in northern and central coastal California, B. tibialis occurring in the central coastal mountains and the Sierra Nevada, and L. africanus occurring only sporadically. Younger age classes and low selenium concentrations were significantly associated with exotic louse infestation, whereas no significant relationship was detected with serum copper levels. Our results show that exotic lice are widespread in California, and younger age classes with low blood selenium concentrations are more likely to be infested with lice than older deer.
  • This is the publisher’s final pdf. The published article is copyrighted by the author(s) and published by SAGE Publications for American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. The published article can be found at:
  • Keywords: Bovicola tibialis, hair-loss syndrome, selenium, deer, Damalinia (Cervicola) sp.
Resource Type
Date Available
Date Issued
  • Roug, A., Swift, P., Puschner, B., Gerstenberg, G., Mertins, J. W., Johnson, C. K., ... & Woods, L. (2016). Exotic pediculosis and hair-loss syndrome in deer (Odocoileus hemionus) populations in California. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, 28(4), 399-407. doi:10.1177/1040638716647154
Journal Title
Journal Volume
  • 28
Journal Issue/Number
  • 4
Rights Statement
Funding Statement (additional comments about funding)
  • This study was funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Peer Reviewed



This work has no parents.