Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Myxomatosis

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_4769

A viral disease of New World rabbits that is transmitted by mosquitoes, blackflies, fleas, lice and mites. It has only mild effects on New World rabbits, but is quite deadly to Old World rabbits. In 1950 it was introduced to Australia to reduce the population of European rabbits that were deliberately but regrettably introduced to Australia, where they had few natural enemies. The rabbits in Australia have caused the extinction of numerous animals and plants, and caused extensive soil erosion due to overgrazing. The virus quickly reduced the population of rabbits from 600 million to 100 million, but the rabbits have developed resistance. Now another virus, rabbit calicivirus, has been introduced to attempt population suppression in Australia. Myxomatosis was also introduced to France, where it spread rapidly throughout Europe, causing significant decreases in rabbit populations, and some of the predators that fed upon them. A vaccine is used in Europe to provide protection of domestic...

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008