Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

You are here: Home / Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References / Immunocontraception as a potential control method of wild rodent populations

LK Chambers, GR Singleton, and GM Hood (1997)

Immunocontraception as a potential control method of wild rodent populations


Rodents have the capacity to periodically reach very high numbers in agricultural landscapes, reducing agricultural production, and causing considerable environmental and social problems for farmers and their families. Such rodent problems occur worldwide and have a long history. Currently mortality enhancing agents (mainly poisons) are the principal method of rodent control. This approach raises environmental, ethical and humane issues, and ignores the inherent high capacity for increase in these species. We argue that it is more appropriate to reduce reproduction than increase mortality. This paper uses house mice in Australia as a case study to explore fertility reduc tion as a potential alternative to conventional methods of control. In particular, the question of what level of fertility control is required to have a significant effect on population growth is discussed. A computer simulation, based on the life-history strategies of house mice, examined the effect of different levels of fertility control on mouse population dynamics. This simulation provides a reference for future studies of confined populations of mice used to test the effects of fertility control, refines the design of these experiments and identifies the type of data needed to be collected. Immunocontraception, the process of inducing the body's immune system to attack its own reproductive cells, is suggested as a method for reducing fertility in rodent populations. The advantages and disadvantages of immunocontraception over mortality-enhancing agents are discussed, as are the potential impacts of social structure on the efficacy of immunocontraception and the possible application of this control method to other rodent pest situations, particularly rodent pest problems in Africa.

fertility reduction; rodents; immunocontraception; mouse plagues; Mus domesticus; computer simulation; experimental design
International Workshop on Rodent Biology and Integrated Pest Management in Africa, MOROGORO, TANZANIA, OCT 21-25, 1996
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology