In July 1981, investigations on parasites, diseases, and herd health status were conducted on sympatric populations of sika deer (Cervus nippon) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (Maryland) and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (Virginia) on the Delmarva Peninsula. Five adult deer of each species were collected from each location and subjected to thorough necropsy examinations and laboratory tests. White-tailed deer at both locations harbored protozoan, helminth, and arthropod parasites typically associated with this species throughout the southeastern United States. In contrast, sika deer at both locations harbored only light burdens of ticks, chiggers, and sarcocysts. Serologic tests for antibodies to seven infectious disease agents revealed evidence of exposure to bovine virus diarrhea (BVD) virus, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus, and parainfluenza3 virus in white-tailed deer, but only BVD virus in sika deer. At both locations the general health status of sika deer was superior to that of white-tailed deer.

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Author notes


This study was supported by an appropriation from the Congress of the United States. Funds were administered and research coordinated under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (50 Stat. 917) and through Contract Numbers 14-16-0009-81-014 and 14-16-0009-82-500, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.