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J Med Entomol. 1996 Jul;33(4):619-27.

Microclimate-dependent survival of unfed adult Ixodes scapularis (Acari:Ixodidae) in nature: life cycle and study design implications.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8034, USA.

Abstract

Microclimate and other abiotic factors may be important in determining the survival of arthropod vectors, yet the impact of such variables rarely has received careful examination. The impacts of habitat, microclimate, and experimental confinement on survival rates of unfed adult blacklegged ticks, Ixodes scapularis Say, were studied in field enclosures in southcentral and northwestern Connecticut. At both locations, 2 enclosures were placed in each of 3 different habitats (field, forest canopy, and forest/field edge). Forty wild-caught adult ticks (20 males, 20 females) were placed in each enclosure. At one site, another 40 ticks were confined to nylon mesh bags placed inside each enclosure. Soil temperature, ground-level air temperature and relative humidity were measured within each habitat. The number of ticks surviving within each enclosure was monitored 1 or 2 times per week. Ticks that were confined in nylon bags had a lower survival rate than ticks that were able to move freely within the enclosures. Ticks survived longer in edge and forest habitats than in open fields, which were characterized by greater extremes in air temperature, soil temperature, relative humidity, and vapor pressure deficit than the other 2 habitats. The mean daily survival rates of free-ranging I. scapularis were negatively related to air temperature, vapor pressure deficit, and the coefficient of variation of relative humidity.

PMID:
8699457
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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