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A comparative test of ixodid tick identification by a network of European researchers

Estrada-Pena A., D'Amico G., Palomar A.M., Dupraz M., Fonville M., Heylen D., Habela M.A., Hornok S., Lempereur L., Madder M., Núncio M.S., Otranto D., Pfaffle M., Plantard O., Santos-Silva M.M., Sprong H., Vatansever Z., Vial L., Mihalca A.D.. 2017. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 8 (4) : p. 540-546.

This study reports the results of a comparative test of identification of ticks occurring in Western Europe and Northern Africa. A total of 14 laboratories were voluntarily enrolled in the test. Each participant received between 22 and 25 specimens of adult and nymphal ticks of 11 species: Dermacentor marginatus, D. reticulatus, Haemaphysalis punctata, Hyalomma lusitanicum, Hy. marginatum, Ixodes ricinus, I. hexagonus, Rhipicephalus annulatus, R. bursa, R. rossicus, and/or R. sanguineus s.l. Ticks were morphologically identified by three of the co-authors and the identification confirmed by a fourth co-author who used molecular methods based on several genes. Then ticks were randomly selected and blindly distributed among participants, together with a questionnaire. Only specimens collected while questing and, if possible, in the same survey, were circulated. Because of the random nature of the test, a participant could receive several specimens of the same species. Species in the different genera had variable misidentification rates (MR) of 7% (Dermacentor), 14% (Ixodes), 19% (Haemaphysalis), 36% (Hyalomma), and 54% (Rhipicephalus). Within genera, the MR was also variable ranging from 5.4% for I. ricinus or 7.4% for D. marginatus or D. reticulatus to 100% for R. rossicus. The test provided a total misidentification rate of 29.6% of the species of ticks. There are no significant differences in MR according to the sex of the tick. Participants were requested to perform a second round of identifications on the same set of ticks, using only purposely prepared keys (without illustrations), circulated to the enrolled participants, including 2 species of the genus Dermacentor, 8 of Haemaphysalis, 10 of Hyalomma, 23 of Ixodes, and 6 of Rhipicephalus. The average MR in the second round was 28%: 0% (Dermacentor), 33% (Haemaphysalis), 30% (Hyalomma) 18% (Ixodes), and 50% (Rhipicephalus). Species which are not reported in the countries of a participating laboratory had always

Mots-clés : metastigmata; identification; méthodologie; taxonomie; anatomie animale; biologie moléculaire; test biologique; ixodidae; dermacentor; ixodes; hyalomma; rhipicephalus; haemaphysalis punctata; ixodes ricinus; rhipicephalus sanguineus; génie génétique; europe occidentale; afrique du nord; dermacentor reticulatus; dermacentor marginatus; hyalomma lusitanicum; hyalomma marginatum; ixodeshexagonus; rhipicephalus annulatus; rhipicephalus bursa; rhipicephalus rossicus

Thématique : Organismes nuisibles des animaux; Méthodes de relevé; Autres thèmes; Taxonomie et géographie animales

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