Gender-biased parasitism in small mammals: patterns, mechanisms, consequences Academic Article uri icon


  • This article reviews patterns, causes and consequences of gender-biased infestation of small mammalian hosts by macroparasites. We start with a description of gender biases in parasite infestation and discuss variation in these patterns among host and parasite taxa. We also look at temporal and spatial variations in gender-biased parasitism and demonstrate that they can vary seasonally and be mediated by environmental conditions. Then, we present main hypotheses that examine mechanisms of gender-biased parasitism. One group of these hypotheses focuses on differences between male and female hosts in their probability to be attacked by parasites, while another group links gender-biased parasitism with differences in parasite performance in male vs. female hosts. Finally, we discuss possible consequences of male-biased parasitism for individual parasites, their …

publication date

  • January 1, 2012