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Attachment kinetics of the adult tick Amblyomma variegatum to cattle

Stachurski F.. 2006. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 20 : p. 317-324.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2915.2006.00633.x

Abstract. At the beginning of the 1999 rainy season, three traditional cattle herds were monitored for 48 days while grazing in the bushy savannah of southwestern Burkina Faso. Cattle in each herd were caught on several occasions each day and the attached ticks were counted. This confirmed that Amblyomma variegatum Fabricius (Acari: Ixodidae) adults picked up in the pastures mainly attach to the interdigital areas (87% of the 791 ticks captured), and reach the predilection sites later (chest and udder/ inguinal area) when the animals lie down. As many females as males attached to the hosts, but the seasonal distribution was very heterogeneous, with only a few females attaching as long as the humidity rate remained low. It is suggested that this prevents eggs from being laid when conditions are not optimal for their survival and that of the larvae. Ticks attached all day but the number picked up hourly and daily varied greatly according to their density on the pasture. As a general trend, confirmed by another study carried out in 2005, the number of ticks picked up daily increased from less than one tick/animal/day, before the onset of the rainy season, to 6.5 (± 1.5) ticks/animal/day on average during the infestation peak, which lasted 6-8 weeks, until early or mid-July. The number then decreased to less than one tick/animal/day from the end of July on-wards. The infestation on the predilection sites followed the same trend, with a daily tick burden increase of three to five A. variegatum adults, depending on herd and year. during the infestation peak.

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