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Ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) on resident and migratory wild birds in Orinoquia region, Colombia.

Acta Tropica 2024 April 9
Several species of hard ticks, including those of the genera Ixodes, Haemaphysalis, Amblyomma, and Rhipicephalus, are of medical and veterinary importance and have been reported in association with Neotropical wild birds. Colombia, known for its great bird diversity, has 57 confirmed tick species. However, there are few studies on the association between wild birds and ticks in Colombia. The Orinoquia region, a migratory center in Colombia, provides a unique opportunity to study wild bird-tick associations and their implications for tick-borne disease dynamics. Our study, conducted between October and December 2021, aimed to identify hard ticks infesting resident and migratory wild birds in the department of Arauca and to assess the presence of bacteria from the genera Anaplasma, Borrelia, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia, and piroplasms. A total of 383 birds were examined, of which 21 were infested. We collected 147 ticks, including Amblyomma dissimile (larvae), Amblyomma longirostre (nymphs), Amblyomma mixtum (adults), and Amblyomma nodosum (larvae and nymphs). We did not detect bacterial DNA in the tested ticks; however, piroplasm DNA was detected in ticks from three of the infested birds. Of the 21 bird-tick associations, six are new to the Americas, and interesting documentation of piroplasm DNA in A. longirostre, A. nodosum, and A. dissimile ticks from wild birds in the region. This study provides valuable insights into the ticks associated with wild birds and their role in the dispersal of ticks and pathogens in Colombia, enhancing our understanding of tick life cycles and tick-borne disease dynamics.

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