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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348771

Research Project: Improved Biologically-Based Methods for Insect Pest Management of Crop Insect Pests

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Distribution and host association of ixodid ticks collected from wildlife in Florida, USA

item HERTZ, JEFFREY - University Of Florida
item CLEMMONS, BAMBI - Florida Fish And Wildlife Conservation Commission
item LORD, CYNTHIA - University Of Florida
item Allan, Sandra - Sandy
item KAUFMAN, PHILLIP - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Experimental and Applied Acarology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2017
Publication Date: 11/6/2017
Citation: Hertz, J.C., Clemmons, B., Lord, C., Allan, S.A., Kaufman, P. 2017. Distribution and host association of ixodid ticks collected from wildlife in Florida, USA. Experimental and Applied Acarology. 73:223-236.

Interpretive Summary: Ticks pose a threat to humans, livestock, pets and wildlife in Florida due to their biting behavior and ability to vector a variety of diseases. Discomfort due to tick bites and likelihood of contracting specific diseases varies with species of tick. The distribution of tick species throughout Florida and their associations with wildlife are poorly understood. A survey to document the relative abundance and geographic distribution of ixodid ticks in Florida was conducted by scientists from the University of Florida and a scientists at USDA-ARS, Center for Medical Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, which resulted in the production of host species records for most common ticks in Florida. The compiled data provide insights into disease risk in the geographic areas which can guide tick management strategies to target tick control.

Technical Abstract: A tick survey was conducted to document tick-host associations with Florida wildlife, and to determine the relative abundance and distribution of ixodid ticks throughout the state. The survey was conducted using collection kits distributed to licensed Florida hunters as well as the examination of archived specimens from ongoing state wildlife research programs. Collected tick samples were obtained from 66% of Florida counties and were collected from nine wildlife hosts, including black bear, bobcat, coyote, deer, gray fox, Florida panther, raccoon, swine, and wild turkey. In total, 4,176 ticks were identified, of which, 75% were Amblyomma americanum, 14% Ixodes scapularis, 8% Amblyomma maculatum, 3% Dermacentor variabilis, and <1% were Ixodes affinis and Ixodes texanus. Amblyomma americanum, D. variabilis, and I. scapularis had the broadest host range, while A. maculatum, D. variabilis, and I. scapularis had the widest geographic distribution. The data presented enhances the understanding of tick-host associations in Florida, which may be of value to ongoing tick surveillance programs conducted in the southeastern United States.