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Host associations of ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) parasitizing medium-sized mammals in a Lyme disease endemic area of southern New York.

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Abstract

Ticks of eight medium-sized mammal species were studied in an area of endemic
Lyme disease in Westchester County, N.Y., from 1 April 1984 to 31 March 1985. Most (81%) of the 266 total mammal captures were raccoon, Procyon lotor (L.) (47%), opossum, Didelphis virginiana (Kerr) (19%), and striped skunk, Mephitis mephitis Schreber (15%); these host species accounted for 91% of the 1,519 ticks collected. Although the total number of ticks was rather evenly distributed among these mammals, species composition of ticks on each host species differed markedly. Ixodes dammini Spielman, Clifford, Piesman, and Corwin was the most abundant tick species and accounted for 45% (690) of the total ticks collected. Immatures were most prevalent (56%) on opossum, and nearly all (86%) adults were found on this host species. I. cookei Marx was second in abundance (34%) and was most prevalent (60%) on skunk. I. texanus Banks and Dermacentor variabilis (Say) were less abundant (less than 20% collectively) and were most prevalent on raccoon. I. dentatus Marx on eastern cottontail, Sylvilagus floridanus (Allen), and I. marxi Banks on gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis Gmelin, were least abundant (less than 2% collectively). The prevalence of I. dammini on medium-sized mammals in southern New York may influence the epizoötiology of
Lyme disease.

J Med Entomol. 1989 May;26(3):200-9. Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t

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