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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Possible Role of Invasive Herpestes Javanicus in Sustaining Cattle Fever Tick Populations in Puerto Rico

Location: Tick and Biting Fly Research

Project Number: 6205-32000-034-46
Project Type: General Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Mar 01, 2014
End Date: Feb 28, 2015

Objective:
Assess the role of H. javanicus as reservoir and in the dissemination of cattle fever ticks and bovine babesiosis by assessing infestations at selected livestock farms and gathering empirical data of their ecology to establish baseline data on the involvement of mongoose in the infestation of Puerto Rico with CFT.

Approach:
Conduct fieldwork to gather empirical data and acquire baseline information on mongoose ecology and their possible role to sustain Cattle Fever Tick populations consisting of two main activities: a) Tick load assessment and Babesia prevalence. Tomahawk live trap transects and grids will be established at the areas surrounding affected pastures to capture Small Indian Mongoose individuals. Tick counts will be performed to determine tick burdens from each captured individual and trapping data will also be used to estimate mongoose population densities. Additional ecological data (body mass, vegetation at capture sites, stomach contents, etc.) could further enhance our knowledge of the ecology of the invasive species at these sites. Collected ticks will be identified and tested for presence of Babesia. All this information will be contrasted with the Cattle Fever Tick/Babesia incidence in cattle at these pastures to ascertain any correlative associations. b) Landscape use by H. javanicus. To ascertain mongoose dispersal patterns, home range and percent of area overlap with cattle pastures, radio-telemetry techniques will be used on at least 20 individuals (ideally 10 males and 10 females) that will be trapped from areas with Cattle Fever Tick infestations. These individuals will be fitted with radiocollars, released and then followed for specific periods of time (2-3 months). Standard radiotelemetry collars of the right size for this species will be used to gather the needed data.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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