Original Research

Birds as hosts of immature ixodid ticks in Free State Province, South Africa

D.J. Van Niekerk, L.J. Fourie, I.G. Horak
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 73, No 2 | a157 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v73i2.157 | © 2006 D.J. Van Niekerk, L.J. Fourie, I.G. Horak | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 September 2006 | Published: 13 September 2006

About the author(s)

D.J. Van Niekerk,
L.J. Fourie,
I.G. Horak,

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the species spectrum of ixodid ticks infesting birds in Free State Province, South Africa. To this end a large number of birds belonging to several species were examined for ticks and a total of 180 birds belonging to 39 species at 17 localities were infested, and ticks belonging to eight species were recovered. The immature stages of only two, namely Amblyomma marmoreum and Hyalomma marginatum rufipes, were sufficiently prevalent and numerous to safely assume that they regularly use birds as hosts. Helmeted guineafowls, Numida meleagris, were the most heavily infested and one harboured a total of 319 larvae and four nymphs. Amongst the other species an eastern clapper lark, Mirafra fasciolata, was infested with 69 larvae and a nymph, but no other bird harboured more than 40 ticks. The larvae and nymphs of H. m. rufipes were most numerous on birds from April to August.

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