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Differential Distribution of Immature Ixodes dammini (Acari: Ixodidae) on Rodent Hosts

Priya Davidar, Mark Wilson and José M. C. Ribeiro
The Journal of Parasitology
Vol. 75, No. 6 (Dec., 1989), pp. 898-904
DOI: 10.2307/3282868
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3282868
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Differential Distribution of Immature Ixodes dammini (Acari: Ixodidae) on Rodent Hosts
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Abstract

Ectoparasites such as ixodid ticks that remain attached to hosts for several days while feeding on blood are able to overcome the inflammatory and immune responses of some hosts and not others. The immature stages of the deer tick Ixodes dammini are found more frequently on the white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus, than on other rodents. We propose that P. leucopus is more tolerant to I. dammini than is a less common host, the meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus. To test this hypothesis, the distribution patterns and engorgement indices were determined for larval and nymphal I. dammini collected from wild-caught P. leucopus and M. pennsylvanicus. There were more immature ticks, which were more fully engorged, on P. leucopus than on M. pennsylvanicus. There were more and better engorged ticks on male than on female hosts. Laboratory studies on the number and weights of larval I. dammini collected off naive and previously exposed P. leucopus and M. pennsylvanicus support the results of the field study. Fewer larval ticks were recovered from previously exposed M. pennsylvanicus than P. leucopus, and the ticks weighed less. Larval and nymphal ticks aggregated among hosts in the study grid, and higher densities per male P. leucopus were correlated with higher engorgement indices, suggesting that immature I. dammini feed better at higher densities. The feeding success of 7. dammini on its preferred host species might be due to its adaptation to the immune and inflammatory reactions of the host.

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