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Host-dependent differences in feeding and reproduction of Ixodes dammini (Acari: Ixodidae).

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Abstract

The frequencies with which adult Ixodes dammini Spielman, Clifford, Piesman and Corwin feed upon white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), raccoons (Procyon lotor), opossums (Didelphis virginiana), and domestic cats were compared in a wooded site in northeastern United States. By combining estimates of the quantity of ticks feeding on each host species with host densities, we derived the relative contribution made by each kind of host to the feeding of the tick population. To compare engorgement success and reproductive efficacy, we weighed ticks found on these hosts and compared tick weights with the quantity of eggs produced. Deer harbored the most female ticks per individual and, although deer were less abundant than raccoons, they harbored 94.6% of the feeding tick population. Raccoons, cats, and opossums, respectively, provided blood meals to 3.6, 1.6, and 0.2% of feeding adult ticks. Ticks engorged more successfully on cats and raccoons than on deer, and egg production correlated linearly with weight of female ticks collected from both cats and deer. Although these ticks engorged better on other hosts, the vast majority of eggs resulted from ticks that had fed on deer. We conclude that, in this site, the abundance of deer largely determines the abundance of I. dammini, the vector of the agent of
Lyme disease.

J Med Entomol. 1990 Nov;27(6):945-54. Comparative Study; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov’t; Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, P.H.S.

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