The effect of rainfall on tick challenge at Kyle recreational park, Zimbabwe
Publication Year:
The effect of rainfall pattern on tick challenge was investigated at Kyle Recreational Park, Zimbabwe, from 1991 to 1992 using drag and removal plot methods to sample environmental tick density. The abundance of adults and nymphs of the brown ear-tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus and larvae of the bont tick Amblyomma hebraeum was positively correlated with monthly rainfall, whereas no relationship with rainfall was revealed for larval R. appendiculatus, adults of the red-legged tick R. evertsi, or larvae of the blue tick Boophilus decoloratus. A comparison between 1991 (490 mm rainfall) and the drought year of 1992 (161 mm) revealed significant differences in the abundance of R. appendiculatus, A. hebraeum, and B. decoloratus. During the wet season, R. appendiculatus adults were 2-3 time more numerous in the environment during the higher rainfall year of 1991. A. hebraeum larval abundance exhibited a similar pattern to that of R. appendiculatus adults, but B. decoloratus larvae were more abundant in the drought year of 1992 during both the wet and dry seasons. Comparable tick abundance data collected at Kyle during the above-average rainfall years of 1975-1977 (mean = 1029 mm) were compared with tick challenge during the below-average rainfall years of 1991-1992 (mean = 326 mm). In grassland sand habitat and all habitats combined R. appendiculatus adults, nymphs, and larvae were much more abundant during the high rainfall years. In contrast, larvae of B. decoloratus were more numerous during the drier years. A. hebraeum larvae were also more abundant during the drier years. The strong positive correlation of adult R. appendiculatus abundance with rainfall and the coincidence of increased adult tick challenge with increased rainfall indicates that adult R. appendiculatus tick burden on hosts would be heaviest during the wet season and high rainfall years. Keywords: Ticks, Ixodidae Rhipicephalus, appendiculatus, rainfall, humidity, Zimbabwe.
Publication Title:
Experimental and Applied Acarology
507 - 520
Item Type:
Journal Article

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