The curvilinear relationship between worm length and fecundity of Teladorsagia circumcincta Academic Article uri icon


  • The variation among sheep in fecundity of Teladorsagia (Ostertagia) circumcincta was estimated by dividing the faecal egg count by the worm number following deliberate infection of mature Scottish Blackface lambs. Fecundity was skewed and ranged from 0 to 350 eggs per worm per day. Most animals had relatively low worm fecundities, but a small number of individuals had relatively high worm fecundities. However, as fecundity is a ratio of two imprecise estimates, extreme values may be statistical artefacts. Following both deliberate and natural infection, differences in worm fecundity were associated with differences in adult female worm length. In both infections, fecundity varied with worm length to the power 0.4. This relationship should assist the measurement of fecundity in studies of host immunity, in epidemiological modelling and in estimating the influence of density-dependent relationships.

publication date

  • May 1999