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Med Vet Entomol. 2006 Jun;20(2):177-88.

Risk factors associated with ixodid tick species distributions in the Basque region in Spain.

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Instituto Vasco de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario (NEIKER). Sanidad Animal, Derio, Bizkaia, Spain.


Ixodid tick abundance was investigated in the Basque region in Spain in two 1-year longitudinal studies, in 1992-1993 and 2003-2004. Forty zones were visited monthly and 162 672 ticks (87% larvae, 12% nymphs and 1% adults) were collected by blanket dragging. Eleven tick species belonging to the genera Ixodes, Haemaphysalis, Rhipicephalus and Dermacentor were identified including Haemaphysalis concinna Koch, which had not previously been reported in Spain. Tick species abundance differed between zones, studies and seasons. In 1992-1993, Haemaphysalis punctata Canestrini & Fanzago was the predominant species and distinct spring-summer and autumn-early winter peaks of activity were observed. In 2003-2004, Ixodes ricinus (Linneaus) was the most common species and was active throughout the winter. Larval and nymph seasonal activity patterns coincided in both 1993 and 2003 and this could facilitate co-feeding transmission of pathogens. Higher tick abundance was associated with increased livestock abundance in 1992-1993 and milder winter temperatures in 2003-2004. Tick collection rates in areas with moderate and high tick density were positively associated with the interaction between ambient temperature at sampling and rainfall 7 days prior to sampling. Collection rates were also significantly higher at medium rather than higher altitude, in forested areas than in open grasslands and lower in recreational areas frequented by people and with wet vegetation at sampling.

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