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Exp Appl Acarol. 2016 Nov;70(3):369-380. Epub 2016 Jul 13.

Seasonal dynamics of ixodid ticks on wild rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus (Leporidae) from Central Spain.

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Villamagna SA, Finca "La Garganta", 14.440 Villanueva de Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain.
Grupo de Parasitología Animal, Departamento de Reproducción Animal, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnologías Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA), 28040, Madrid, Spain.
Departamento de Sanidad Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040, Madrid, Spain.


Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease and Myxomatosis caused a decline in the rabbit population in the second half of the last century. Despite some recovery, the risk of vector-borne disease is present and thus the importance of controlling vector populations. In the current study, we describe the ixodid tick fauna in wild rabbit in a natural reserve in Ciudad Real (Central Spain) during the course of two 3-year periods (2007-2009 and 2012-2014). Of all the ticks collected on average 72.5 % were larvae, 24.4 % nymphs and 3.1 % adults, although the percentage varied monthly. Seven tick species were identified: Hyalomma lusitanicum Koch (Parasitic indicator [PI] = number of ticks per examined rabbit = 96.47), Rhipicephalus pusillus Gil Collado (PI = 47.37), Haemaphysalis hispanica Gil Collado (PI = 12.15), Ixodes ventalloi Gil Collado (PI = 0.65), R. bursa Canestrini and Fanzago (PI = 0.18), R. sanguineus Latreille (PI = 0.11), Dermacentor marginatus Sulzer (PI = 0.01). In spring and summer, most abundant were larvae of H. lusitanicum, followed by immature stages of R. pusillus and Ha. hispanica. In autumn, the main tick species were nymphs of I. ventalloi whereas in winter adults of Ha. hispanica were more numerous. Rhipicephalus pusillus was present all year long, although not always in high percentage. PI of other species (R. bursa, R. sanguineus and D. marginatus) were too low to be representative. The seasonal dynamics of ticks on wild rabbit defined in this study could be useful to design species-specific control strategies.


Seasonal dynamics; Tick; Wild rabbits; meso-Mediterranean

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