Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
To identify hosts that may serve as reservoirs for the agent of
Lyme disease in Central Europe, we determined whether Ixodes ricinus L. feed most frequently on certain rodents and whether the abundance of these hosts corresponds to the season of feeding activity of the tick in four sites in Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany. In addition, we correlated abundance of I. ricinus with that of particular rodent hosts. Two small rodents were more abundant than any others; a mouse, Apodemus flavicollis, predominated in a wooded site and a vole, Clethrionomys glareolus, in three brush- or grass-covered sites. The tick was most abundant in the mouse-infested site. Although A. flavicollis comprised only about a third of rodents collected, nearly 60% of all such rodent parasitizing I. ricinus fed on this mouse. These ticks were more abundant on mice than voles in each of the study sites and throughout the year, and more larvae fed on these rodents than did nymphs. Although larval as well as nymphal I. ricinus are most abundant during midsummer, they feed on rodents from April through October. Taken together, these observations suggest A. flavicollis as a potentially important reservoir host for I. ricinus-borne infections.