Climate and the seasonal abundance of the tick Dermacentor reticulatus

Bryony O Sands*, Katherine Bryer, Richard Wall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Dermacentor reticulatus (Ixodida: Ixodidae, Fabricius 1794) is one of the most widely distributed and abundant tick species in central Europe and is a vector for a range of pathogens. Nevertheless, many aspects of its ecology and distribution remain poorly understood. To quantify the seasonal abundance of this species in the UK and the environmental factors that determine this, weekly sampling at sites throughout Wales and southern England was undertaken for 12 months. This showed that the activity of adult D. reticulatus peaked February and March and that no individuals were collected between May and mid-October; no questing tick activity was observed when the 5-day average temperature was greater than 15 °C. A single nymph was collected by dragging, confirming speculation over the nidicolous status of larval and nymphal stadia. Laboratory analysis found that D. reticulatus were able survive cold shock and the lower lethal temperature was estimated to be between -18 and -20 °C. Habitat was significantly associated with tick activity, with higher numbers of ticks collected from low lying vegetation in marsh environments than from exposed grassland or woodland. A strong association was observed between activity and saturation deficit suggesting that the seasonal pattern of activity seen in the field, within the sites where it was abundant, is more strongly determined by temperature than humidity. Range expansion within the UK should be expected, bringing with it an elevated disease risk for animal and human hosts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-441
Number of pages8
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
Volume35
Issue number3
Early online date4 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the Dogs Trust for funding this study, and Public Health England for advice and practical assistance. This work was carried out with the approval of the University of Bristol ethics committee: UB/18/076. The authors declare no conflicts of interest. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the Dogs Trust for funding this study, and Public Health England for advice and practical assistance. This work was carried out with the approval of the University of Bristol ethics committee: UB/18/076. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Medical and Veterinary Entomology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Royal Entomological Society.

Keywords

  • Babesiosis
  • Phenology
  • Range expansion
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Saturation Deficit
  • Piroplasmosis

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