Original Research

The dynamics of questing ticks collected for 164 consecutive months off the vegetation of two landscape zones in the Kruger National Park (1988–2002). Part III. The less commonly collected species

Gordon J. Gallivan, Andrea Spickett, Heloise Heyne, Arthur M. Spickett, Ivan G. Horak
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 78, No 1 | a41 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v78i1.41 | © 2011 Gordon J. Gallivan, Andrea Spickett, Heloise Heyne, Arthur M. Spickett, Ivan G. Horak | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 09 September 2010 | Published: 19 April 2011

About the author(s)

Gordon J. Gallivan, 187 Cluny Street, Ottawa, Canada
Andrea Spickett, Parasites, Vectors & Vector-borne Diseases Programme, Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, South Africa
Heloise Heyne, Parasites, Vectors & Vector-borne Diseases Programme, Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, South Africa
Arthur M. Spickett, Parasites, Vectors & Vector-borne Diseases Programme, Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, South Africa
Ivan G. Horak, Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Despite many studies regarding tick ecology, limited information on long-term changes in tick populations exist. This study assessed the long-term population dynamics of the less frequently collected questing ixodid ticks in the Kruger National Park (KNP). From 1988 to 2002, monthly dragging of the vegetation was performed in three habitats (grassland, woodland and gully) at two sites in the KNP (Nhlowa Road, Landscape Zone 17, and Skukuza, Landscape Zone 4). Amblyomma marmoreum and Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi were collected as larvae most commonly. Most A. marmoreum larvae were collected at Skukuza and numbers peaked from March to July. More R. evertsi evertsi larvae were collected at Nhlowa Road and numbers peaked in summer and in winter, while at Skukuza there was a single peak in spring. Haemaphysalis elliptica, Rhipicephalus simus and Rhipicephalus turanicus were collected as adults most commonly. More Ha. elliptica and R. turanicus were collected at Nhlowa Road than at Skukuza, while R. simus numbers from the two sites were approximately equal. Ha. elliptica were collected most often between February and June, and R. simus and R. turanicus during February and March. All three species were collected more frequently in gullies than in grassland or woodland. Their numbers increased in 1994/1995 following an eruption of rodents, the preferred hosts of the immature stages. The different host-seeking strategies of ticks largely determine the development stage at which they are likely to be collected during vegetation dragging and reflect a complex interaction between ticks, their hosts and the environment.

Keywords

Amblyomma marmoreum; Haemaphysalis elliptica; Kruger National Park; questing ticks; Rhipicephalus simus

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