Title
Contrasting detachment strategies in two congeneric ticks (Ixodidae) parasitizing the same songbird Contrasting detachment strategies in two congeneric ticks (Ixodidae) parasitizing the same songbird
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Parasitology. - London, 1908, currens
Volume/pages
137(2010) :4 , p. 661-667
ISSN
0031-1820
1469-8161
ISI
000276888200007
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
In non-permanent parasites the separation from the host should take place in suitable habitats that allow the continuation of their life cycle. Furthermore, detachment strategies determine the parasites' dispersal capability, a characteristic on which epidemiological dynamics and the evolution of host specificity centre. In this study we experimentally investigate in the laboratory how 2 congeneric tick species, with contrasting habitat requirements, time detachment from one of their current songbird hosts (Parus major). Ixodes arboricola is a nidicolous tick, infesting bats and birds breeding or roosting in tree holes. Ixodes ricinus is a non-nidicolous generalist that parasitizes mammals, birds and even reptiles. We experimentally infested full-grown great tits, P. major, and found that I. arboricola detaches during the night, the moment when P. major sleeps in tree holes. In contrast, I. ricinus detaches during the day, the moment when birds are most active. In addition we found that all I. ricinus immatures left the birds within 5.5 days, while in I. arboricola the detachment time was long (up to 20 days) and highly variable. We discuss these findings with respect to their implications on the ticks' dispersal capability and host specificity.
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