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Open Access Publications from the University of California

How mammals stay healthy in nature: the evolution of behaviours to avoid parasites and pathogens.

  • Author(s): Hart, Benjamin L
  • Hart, Lynette A
  • et al.

Mammals live and thrive in environments presenting ongoing threats from parasites in the form of biting flies, ticks and intestinal worms and from pathogens as wound contaminants and agents of infectious disease. Several strategies have evolved that enable animals to deal with parasites and pathogens, including eliminating away from the sleeping-resting areas, use of an array of grooming techniques, use of saliva in licking, and consuming medicinal plant-based compounds. These strategies all are species-specific and reflect the particular environment that the animal inhabits.This article is part of the Theo Murphy meeting issue 'Evolution of pathogen and parasite avoidance behaviours'.

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