Original Research

Parasites of domestic and wild animals in South Africa. XLIX. Ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting white and black rhinoceroses in southern Africa

Ivan G. Horak, Christiaan R. Boshoff, David V. Cooper, Christoper M. Foggin, Danny Govender, Alan Harrison, Guy Hausler, Markus Hofmeyr, J. Werner Kilian, Duncan N. MacFadyen, Pierre J. Nel, Dean Peinke, David Squarre, David Zimmermann
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 84, No 1 | a1301 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v84i1.1301 | © 2017 Ivan G. Horak, Christiaan R. Boshoff, David V. Cooper, Christoper M. Foggin, Danny Govender, Alan Harrison, Guy Hausler, Markus Hofmeyr, J. Werner Kilian, Duncan N. MacFadyen, Pierre J. Nel, Dean Peinke, David Squarre, David Zimmermann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 22 June 2016 | Published: 30 January 2017

About the author(s)

Ivan G. Horak, Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Christiaan R. Boshoff, Wild Game, Gravelotte, South Africa
David V. Cooper, EKZN Wildlife, St Lucia, South Africa
Christoper M. Foggin, Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Danny Govender, Scientific Services, SANParks, Skukuza, South Africa
Alan Harrison, Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Guy Hausler, Veterinary Wildlife Services, SANParks, Skukuza, South Africa
Markus Hofmeyr, Veterinary Wildlife Services, SANParks, Skukuza, South Africa
J. Werner Kilian, Okuakuejo Rest Camp, Etosha National Park, Namibia
Duncan N. MacFadyen, Department of Research and Conservation, E Oppenheimer & Son, South Africa
Pierre J. Nel, Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Dean Peinke, Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency, East London, South Africa
David Squarre, Wildlife Veterinary Unit, Zambia Wildlife Authority, Zambia
David Zimmermann, Veterinary Wildlife Services, SANParks, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


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Abstract

The objectives of the study were to determine the species composition of ticks infesting white and black rhinoceroses in southern Africa as well as the conservation status of those tick species that prefer rhinos as hosts. Ticks were collected opportunistically from rhinos that had been immobilised for management purposes, and 447 white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum) and 164 black rhinoceroses (Diceros bicornis) were sampled in South Africa, 61 black rhinos in Namibia, 18 white and 12 black rhinos in Zimbabwe, and 24 black rhinos in Zambia. Nineteen tick species were recovered, of which two species, Amblyomma rhinocerotis and Dermacentor rhinocerinus, prefer rhinos as hosts. A. rhinocerotis was collected only in the northeastern KwaZulu-Natal reserves of South Africa and is endangered, while D. rhinocerinus is present in these reserves as well as in the Kruger National Park and surrounding conservancies. Eight of the tick species collected from the rhinos are ornate, and seven species are regularly collected from cattle. The species present on rhinos in the eastern, moister reserves of South Africa were amongst others Amblyomma hebraeum, A. rhinocerotis, D. rhinocerinus, Rhipicephalus maculatus, Rhipicephalus simus and Rhipicephalus zumpti, while those on rhinos in the Karoo and the drier western regions, including Namibia, were the drought-tolerant species, Hyalomma glabrum, Hyalomma rufipes, Hyalomma truncatum and Rhipicephalus gertrudae. The species composition of ticks on rhinoceroses in Zambia differed markedly from those of the other southern African countries in that Amblyomma sparsum, Amblyomma tholloni and Amblyomma variegatum accounted for the majority of infestations.

Keywords

White rhinoceroses; Black rhinoceroses; Ixodid ticks; Regional distribution; Conservation status; Southern Africa

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