Original Research

Effect of burning on the numbers of questing ticks collected by dragging

I.G. Horak, G.J. Gallivan, A.M. Spickett, A.L.F. Potgieter
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 73, No 3 | a142 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v73i3.142 | © 2006 I.G. Horak, G.J. Gallivan, A.M. Spickett, A.L.F. Potgieter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 13 September 2006 | Published: 13 September 2006

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I.G. Horak,
G.J. Gallivan,
A.M. Spickett,
A.L.F. Potgieter,

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Abstract

Sixteen experimental burn plot replicates, in groups of four, in four landscape zones of the Kruger National Park, South Africa, and from which wildlife are not excluded, have been subjected to fixed, regular burning regimens since 1954. In 1999, a study to determine the effect of burning on ixodid ticks questing for hosts from the vegetation of the plots was initiated, and six sub-plots, with identical histories, within each of two of the burn plot replicates in Combretum collinum / Combretum zeyheyri woodland on granite, were selected. With few exceptions these 12 sub-plots, as well as unburned vegetation adjacent to each of the replicates, were sampled for ticks at monthly intervals for a period of 39 months by dragging with flannel strips. The existing regimen of burning during August or during October on individual sub-plots was continued during this time. A total of 14 tick species was recovered from the plots of which nine could be considered major species. Sufficient numbers for statistical analysis of only eight species were, however, collected. Burning appeared to have little short-term effect on the number of ticks recovered. In the longer term, the response varied from no change, an increase, or a decrease in the numbers of ticks collected each year after burning. Tick species, life cycle, seasonality, questing strategy, host preference and host utilization of the habitat were important determinants of the effect of burning.

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