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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SURVEILLANCE AND ECOLOGY OF MOSQUITO, BITING AND FILTH BREEDING INSECTS

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research Unit

Title: Chemical ecology of tick-host interactions

Author
item Allan, Sandra

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 14, 2010
Publication Date: May 30, 2010
Citation: Allan, S.A. 2010. Chemical ecology of tick-host interactions. In: Takken, W., Knols, B. J.G., editors. Ecology and Control of Vector-borne Disease Volume 2. Olfaction in Vector-host Interactions. Wageningen, Netherlands:Wageningen Academic Press. p. 327-348.

Interpretive Summary: Ticks impact the health of livestock and humans world-wide through their roles as pests and vectors of diseases such as heartwater, theileriosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Lyme disease, erhlichiosis, tick-borne encephalitis and Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic fever. Ticks require blood-meals from hosts to develop and reproduce, however, relatively little is known about the odors used by ticks to locate these hosts. In this manuscript, a scientist at USDA’s Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) in Gainesville, FL, provides an overview of current knowledge of the role of host odors for location of potential blood-meal sources by ticks. Based on this information, research can be developed to discover new attractants for ticks that could play a role in tick surveillance or control.

Technical Abstract: Ticks impact the health of livestock and humans world-wide through their roles as pests and vectors of diseases such as heartwater, theileriosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Lyme disease, erhlichiosis, tick-borne encephalitis and Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic fever. Intrinsic to their capacity to serve in these roles is the ability to locate vertebrate hosts. Olfactory cues are the primary method used for location of potential hosts and these include both emanations from hosts and pheromones produced by ticks feeding on the host. Through behavioural, chemical and electrophysiological methods, volatile compounds from host breath, ruminant digestion, skin and glandular substances, and other blood-feeding ticks have been identified and their role in the host-finding process elucidated. These volatile compounds can provide the basis for development of surveillance methods or be used in development of push-pull strategies.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014