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Invasion of West African cattle by the tick Amblyomma variegatum

Stachurski F.. 2000. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 14 : p. 391-399.

DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2915.2000.00246.x

Studies in Cameroon and Burkina Faso examined the invasion process of cattle by adult Amblyomma variegatum Fabricius (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks. Nearly all the ticks picked up in the pasture during grazing were found on the limb ends, near the hooves, where they temporarily attached. Then when the cattle lay down, the ticks moved from the feet towards the predilection sites, where they attached definitively. Many ticks disappeared during this displacement. All the female ticks and approximately 70% of the males were thus unable to attach to the predilection sites as long as the pioneer males had not attached and started to produce attraction-aggregation-attachment pheromones. Nevertheless, A. variegatum females and males attached to the feet in similar numbers during grazing, whether the cattle were already infested or not, indicating that stimuli originating from the hosts are powerful enough to attract both sexes. After attachment of the pioneer males, the number of ticks that successfully reached the predilection sites increased. However, even on infested animals, 40-50% of A. variegatum ticks found near the hooves after the grazing periods disappeared during the night following their capture. When moving from the temporary attachment sites towards the final ones, one-third of the ticks changed the individual host. Considering this two-stage infestation process, it is suggested that a targeted tick control, using a foot-bath, might greatly reduce cattle infestation. In particular, it could be effective in traditional herds, with animals grazing permanently during the day, lying down only once back in the night pen.

Mots-clés : amblyomma variegatum; relation hôte parasite; contrôle de maladies; metastigmata; bétail; burkina faso; cameroun

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