Toxoplasma in sea otters: who done it?

You’ve probably heard that the southern sea otter is endangered. You’ve also probably heard that infection with Toxoplasma gondii is preventing sea otter population recovery. And maybe you’ve heard that by flushing kitty litter down their toilets, humans are dumping Toxoplasma oocysts into the ocean and thereby contributing to sea otter mortality. Kevin Lafferty has a short opinion piece in the International Journal of Parasitology (“Sea otter health: challenging a pet hypothesis”) that suggests that spillover from wildlife (e.g., bobcats) might be more responsible for Toxoplasma transmission to otters than spillover from domestic cats. It’s a beautifully written, short, open access article that you can read here.


3 thoughts on “Toxoplasma in sea otters: who done it?

  1. Pingback: Best parasite ecology cartoon of 2016? | Parasite Ecology

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