Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Biological control of vertebrate pests: the history of myxomatosis, an experiment in evolution.

Abstract

This book is primarily a history of myxomatosis and rabbit haemorrhagic disease. It is aimed at those interested and working in veterinary virology, zoology, pest management and the history of science and medicine. A brief history of the concept of biological control as applied to other pest species, primarily insects and weeds, achieved by the use of insects, nematodes or microbes is presented. After chapters describing the biology of the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and of myxoma virus, the story of the introduction and spread of myxomatosis in Australia and Europe is covered in 5 chapters. The biology of rabbit haemorrhagic disease and the history of the disease it causes are described in a single chapter. A further chapter is devoted to the description of the ecological and environmental effects of the reductions in wild rabbit populations. The final 2 chapters address some theoretical aspects of microbial control of vertebrate pests and the coevolution of parasites and hosts.