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      Equine attachment site preferences and seasonality of common North American ticks: Amblyomma americanum, Dermacentor albipictus, and Ixodes scapularis

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          Abstract

          Background

          Ticks are common on horses, but recent publications characterizing equine tick infestations in North America are lacking.

          Methods

          To further understand attachment site preferences of common ticks of horses, and to document the seasonality of equine tick infestation in northeastern Oklahoma, horses from eight farms were evaluated twice a month over a 1-year period. Each horse was systematically inspected beginning at the head and moving caudally to the tail. Attachment sites of ticks were recorded and all ticks collected were identified to species and stage.

          Results

          Horses (26 males and 62 females) enrolled in the study ranged in age from 1 to 23 years (mean = 12, 95% CI 11–13). A total of 2731 ticks were collected; 84.1% (74/88) of the horses were infested (median = 3 ticks) at one or more examinations. Five tick species were identified, including Amblyomma americanum (78.2%; 2136/2731), Ixodes scapularis (18.2%; 497/2731), Dermacentor albipictus brown variant (2.6%; 71/2731), Dermacentor variabilis (0.7%; 20/2731), and Amblyomma maculatum (0.3%; 7/231). Most ticks were adults (83.6%; 2282/2731), but immature A. americanum (436/2136; 20.4%), D. albipictus (12/71; 16.9%), and A. maculatum ( n = 1) were occasionally recovered. Amblyomma americanum were most often attached to the inguinal area, and I. scapularis and D. albipictus were most commonly found on the chest and axillary region ( P < 0.0001). Ticks were found on horses in every month of the year. The largest number of ticks (638/2731; 23.4%) were collected in May ( P < 0.0001). Amblyomma americanum, primarily immature, was the only tick recovered in September, I. scapularis and D. albipictus predominated October through February, and both A. americanum and I. scapularis were common in March. In the warmer months, April through August, A. americanum was the most common tick, followed by D. variabilis and A. maculatum.

          Conclusions

          This research confirms that ticks common on horses in North America have attachment site preferences and that ticks infest horses in Oklahoma throughout the year, including during the winter. Additional research is warranted to fully understand the risk these infestations pose to equine health.

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          Most cited references34

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          Range Expansion of Tick Disease Vectors in North America: Implications for Spread of Tick-Borne Disease

          Ticks are the major vectors of most disease-causing agents to humans, companion animals and wildlife. Moreover, ticks transmit a greater variety of pathogenic agents than any other blood-feeding arthropod. Ticks have been expanding their geographic ranges in recent decades largely due to climate change. Furthermore, tick populations in many areas of their past and even newly established localities have increased in abundance. These dynamic changes present new and increasing severe public health threats to humans, livestock and companion animals in areas where they were previously unknown or were considered to be of minor importance. Here in this review, the geographic status of four representative tick species are discussed in relation to these public health concerns, namely, the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, the Gulf Coast Tick, Amblyomma maculatum and the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis. Both biotic and abiotic factors that may influence future range expansion and successful colony formation in new habitats are discussed.
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            Pictorial key to the adults of hard ticks, family Ixodidae (Ixodida: Ixodoidea), east of the Mississippi River.

            Six genera and 27 species of hard ticks (Ixodidae) currently are recognized in the United States east of the Mississippi River as follows: Amblyomma (4 species), Boophilus (1), Dermacentor (3), Haemaphysalis (2), Ixodes (16), and Rhipicephalus (1). We present a diagrammatic couplet key to the adults of the six genera and 27 species of Ixodidae found in the eastern portion of the United States.
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              Illustrated key to nymphs of the tick genus Amblyomma (Acari: Ixodidae) found in the United States.

              A dichotomous identification key, with important characters illustrated by scanning electron micrographs, is provided for nymphs of the 9 species of the genus Amblyomma occurring in the United States. Species included are A. americanum (L.), A. cajennense (F.), A. dissimile Koch, A. imitator Kohls, A. inornatum (Banks), A. longirostre (Koch), A maculatum Koch, A. rotundatum Koch, and A. tuberculatum Marx. Notes on the geographical distributions, medical and veterinary importance, and nymphal stage hosts are included for each species.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                kellee.sundstrom@okstate.edu
                megan.wohltjen@okstate.edu
                amber.grant@okstate.edu
                kathryn.duncan@okstate.edu
                michelle.ientile@okstate.edu
                susan.little@okstate.edu
                Journal
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasit Vectors
                Parasites & Vectors
                BioMed Central (London )
                1756-3305
                14 August 2021
                14 August 2021
                2021
                : 14
                Affiliations
                GRID grid.65519.3e, ISNI 0000 0001 0721 7331, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, , Oklahoma State University, ; Stillwater, OK USA
                Article
                4927
                10.1186/s13071-021-04927-8
                8364019
                34391460
                5c763fe1-9b9d-425e-952f-4cf4f5d7ed04
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                Categories
                Research
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Parasitology
                amblyomma,attachment site,dermacentor,equine,ixodes,tick
                Parasitology
                amblyomma, attachment site, dermacentor, equine, ixodes, tick

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