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      Geographical distribution of Amblyomma cajennense ( sensu lato) ticks (Parasitiformes: Ixodidae) in Brazil, with description of the nymph of A. cajennense ( sensu stricto)

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          Until recently, Amblyomma cajennense (Fabricius, 1787) was considered to represent a single tick species in the New World. Recent studies have split this taxon into six species. While the A. cajennense species complex or A. cajennense ( sensu lato) ( s.l.) is currently represented by two species in Brazil, A. cajennense ( sensu stricto) ( s.s.) and Amblyomma sculptum Berlese, 1888 , their geographical distribution is poorly known .


          The distribution of the A. cajennense ( s.l.) in Brazil was determined by morphological examination of all lots of A. cajennense ( s.l.) in two large tick collections of Brazil, and by collecting new material during three field expeditions in the possible transition areas between the distribution ranges of A. cajennense ( s.s.) and A. sculptum. Phylogenetic analysis inferred from the ITS2 rRNA gene was used to validate morphological results. Morphological description of the nymphal stage of A. cajennense ( s.s.) is provided based on laboratory-reared specimens.


          From the tick collections, a total 12,512 adult ticks were examined and identified as 312 A. cajennense ( s.s.), 6,252 A. sculptum and 5,948 A. cajennense ( s.l.). A total of 1,746 ticks from 77 localities were collected during field expeditions, and were identified as 249 A. cajennense ( s.s.), 443 A. sculptum, and 1,054 A. cajennense ( s.l.) [these A. cajennense ( s.l.) ticks were considered to be males of either A. cajennense ( s.s.) or A. sculptum]. At least 23 localities contained the presence of both A. cajennense ( s.s.) and A. sculptum in sympatry. DNA sequences of the ITS2 gene of 50 ticks from 30 localities confirmed the results of the morphological analyses. The nymph of A. cajennense ( s.s.) is morphologically very similar to A. sculptum.


          Our results confirmed that A. cajennense ( s.l.) is currently represented in Brazil by only two species, A. cajennense ( s.s.) and A. sculptum. While these species have distinct distribution areas in the country, they are found in sympatry in some transition areas. The current distribution of A. cajennense ( s.l.) has important implications to public health, since in Brazil A. sculptum is the most important vector of the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, the etiological agent of Brazilian spotted fever.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13071-016-1460-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 27

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              Introduction: The Brazilian Atlantic Forest1


                Author and article information

                Parasit Vectors
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasites & Vectors
                BioMed Central (London )
                31 March 2016
                31 March 2016
                : 9
                [ ]Departamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva e Saúde Animal, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Prof. Orlando Marques de Paiva 87, São Paulo, 05508-270 Brazil
                [ ]Faculdade São Lucas, R. Alexandre Guimarães Areal 1927, Porto Velho, Rondônia 78916-450 Brazil
                [ ]Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Professor Lineu Prestes 1374, São Paulo, 05389-970 Brazil
                [ ]Coordenação Geral do Programa Nacional de Controle da Malária, Setor Comercial Sul, Quadra 04, Bloco A, Edifício Principal, 6° Andar, Brasília, Distrito Federal 70304-000 Brazil
                [ ]Departamento de Ciências Básicas e Produção Animal, Faculdade de Agronomia, Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Av. Fernando Corrêa da Costa 2367, Cuiabá, Mato Grosso 78060-900 Brazil
                [ ]Instituto Latino-Americano de Ciências da Vida e da Natureza, Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana, Av. Tarquínio Joslin dos Santos 1000, Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná 85870-901 Brazil
                [ ]Universidade de Santo Amaro, R. Prof. Enéas de Siqueira Neto 340, São Paulo, 04829-300 Brazil
                [ ]Curso de Medicina Veterinária, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária, Universidade Federal do Pará, Av. Maximino Porpino 1000, Castanhal, Pará 68740-000 Brazil
                [ ]Deparatamento de Veterinária, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Av. PH Rolfs, s/n, Viçosa, Minas Gerais 36570-000 Brazil
                [ ]Universidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco, Campus de Ciências Agrárias, Rodovia BR 407, Km 12, Lote 543 - Projeto de Irrigação Senador Nilo Coelho, s/n, Petrolina, Pernambuco 56300-990 Brazil
                [ ]Laboratório Especial de Coleções Zoológicas, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brasil 1500, São Paulo, 05503-900 Brazil
                © Martins et al. 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef, Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo;
                Award ID: 2014/14464-1
                Funded by: FundRef, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico;
                Award ID: 141945/2010-9
                Funded by: FundRef, Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior;
                Award ID: CAPES/PROEX 2327/2015
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                nymph, its2, distribution, amblyomma sculptum, amblyomma cajennense


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