Factors affecting the distributions of the ticks Amblyomma hebraeum and A.Variegatum in Zimbabwe - implications of reduced acaricide usage
Publication Year:
The ticks Amblyomma hebraeum and A. variegatum are the main vectors of heartwater, a disease of ruminants caused by Cowdria ruminantium, in the agricultural areas of Zimbabwe. At present, A. hebraeum is widely distributed in the dry southern lowveld, and occurs in at least seven foci in the higher rainfall highveld. Amblyomma variegatum occurs in the Zambezi valley and surrounding dry lowveld areas in the northwest. The distribution of A. hebraeum has changed considerably over the past 70 years, while that of A. variegatum appears to have remained fairly static. The distribution patterns of both species in Zimbabwe display anomalous features; the ticks occur in areas of lowest predicted climatic suitability for survival and development and in areas where the densities of cattle, the most important domestic host, are lowest. The only factor favouring the survival of the species in the lowveld habitats in which they occur is the presence of alternative wildlife hosts for the adult stage. Their absence from more climatically favourable highveld habitats appears to have been the result of intensive acaricide treatment of cattle over a long period and a historic absence of significant numbers of wildlife hosts. Eradication of A. hebraeum and A. variegatum by intensive acaricide treatment of cattle can be achieved in the absence of significant numbers of alternative hosts, because of the long attachment and feeding periods of the adults of these tick species. However, eradication becomes impossible when alternative hosts for the adult stage are present, because a pheromone emitted by attached males attracts the unfed nymphal and adult stages to infested hosts. The unfed ticks are not attracted to uninfested hosts, such as acaricide-treated cattle. Keywords: Amblyomma hebraeum, Amblyomma variegatum, acaricides, tick control, wild life, CLIMEX.
Publication Title:
Experimental and Applied Acarology
383 - 407
Item Type:
Journal Article

EIS custom tag descriptions