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Abundance of Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) Larvae and Nymphs in Relation to Host Density and Habitat on Long Point, Ontario

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Ixodes scapularis Say populations were evaluated within 4 habitats on Long Point, Ontario, from 1990 to 1992 to ascertain whether differences in density of mouse populations within and among habitats were correlated with that of immature I. scapularis populations. I. scapularis immatures were rarely collected by dragging within the cottonwood dune habitat. Significantly more larvae (P ≤ 0.05) were collected by drag sampling within the maple forest habitat than in the oak savannah or white pine habitats for the 1989, 1990, and 1991 cohorts, whereas the size of the 1992 larval cohort did not differ significantly among these habitats. Significantly more nymphs were collected by dragging within the maple forest than in the other 2 habitats for all 4 cohorts. Nymphs from the 1989 and 1990 cohort were more abundant within the oak savannah than the white pine habitat, whereas the 1991 and 1992 cohorts were similar. With few exceptions, I. scapularis immatures were most prevalent on white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus (Rafinesque), captured within the maple forest > oak savannah > white pine > cottonwood dune, although differences were not significant in all years and in all habitats. The number of mice captured within the 4 habitats was not correlated with the number of I. scapularis larvae or nymphs infesting them. Likewise, the minimum number of mice alive was not significantly correlated with conversion indices of larvae to nymphs or nymphs to adults. Lack of association between mouse availability and relative size of subsequent cohorts of host-seeking ticks suggests that factors other than the size of the mouse populations were responsible for the observed differences in tick abundance among habitats.

Keywords: Ixodes scapularis; Lyme borreliosis; habitat; host density; tick ecology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1999

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Medical Entomology is published bimonthly in January, March, May, July, September, and November. The journal publishes reports on all phases of medical entomology and medical acarology, including the systematics and biology of insects, acarines, and other arthropods of public health and veterinary significance.

    The journal is divided into the following sections: Morphology, Systematics, Evolution; Sampling, Distribution, Dispersal; Development, Life History; Population and Community Ecology; Behavior, Chemical Ecology; Population Biology/Genetics; Molecular Biology/Genomics; Neurobiology, Physiology, Biochemistry; Vector Control, Pest Management, Resistance, Repellents; Arthropod/Host Interaction, Immunity; Vector/Pathogen/Host Interaction, Transmission; Vector-Borne Diseases, Surveillance, Prevention; Direct Injury, Myiasis, Forensics; Modeling/GIS, Risk Assessment, Economic Impact. In addition to full-length research articles, the journal publishes interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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