Ixodid ticks parasitizing Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) and European wild boar (Sus scrofa) from Spain: geographical and temporal distribution

Francisco Ruiz-Fons, Isabel G Fernández-de-Mera, Pelayo Acevedo, Ursula Höfle, Joaquín Vicente, José de la Fuente, Christian Gortazár
Veterinary Parasitology 2006 August 31, 140 (1): 133-42
Commercial hunting of Spanish wild ungulates has made them an important economic resource. Wild ungulates may have an important role in the maintenance of ixodid tick populations, and also as reservoirs of pathogens. We studied the ixodid ticks that parasitize Iberian red deer and European wild boar from Spain. Ixodid ticks (n=6,336) were collected from 431 Iberian red deer and 142 wild boar in different regions of Spain. We found 10 different ixodid tick species parasitizing Iberian red deer, mainly Hyalomma marginatum marginatum (63.7%), Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus (7.9%) and R. bursa (7.5%). R. (Boophilus) annulatus was only collected in the province of Cádiz (southern Spain). We found 8 ixodid tick species on the wild boar, mainly Hy. m. marginatum (68.7%), R. bursa (14.6%) and Dermacentor marginatus (9.3%). We found one adult Hy. marginatum rufipes and one adult Hy. anatolicum excavatum parasitizing wild boar from south-central Spain. Mean prevalence of ixodid ticks was 41.3+/-0.08% (n=475) and 31+/-0.09% (n=284) and intensity of parasitization was 13.9+/-0.2 (n=283) and 13.6+/-0.3 (n=130) ticks/animal for Iberian red deer and wild boar, respectively. Only 5 of the 13 ixodid tick species found were shared by Iberian red deer and wild boar. This finding could indicate a host preference when Iberian red deer and wild boar share common habitats. In both Iberian red deer and wild boar from south-central Spain the monthly relative frequencies of Hy. m. marginatum and R. bursa presented an inverse pattern. The highest Hy. m. marginatum relative frequencies coincided with the lowest R. bursa relative frequencies along the year. R. bursa and I. ricinus were present in areas from northern to southern Spain while Hyalomma sp. and D. marginatus were exclusively collected in the two southern thirds of Spain. Haemaphysalis sp. and D. reticulatus were collected in northern Spain. Hy. m. marginatum and R. bursa were present during the whole year in red deer and wild boar from south-central Spain, showing more than one life cycle per year. These results are important for understanding the role of wild ungulates in the maintenance of tick infestations and to improve tick control programmes.

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