Local-scale spatio-temporal distribution of questing Ixodes ricinus L. (Acari: Ixodidae)-A case study from a riparian urban forest in Wrocław, SW Poland
Abstract This paper presents the distribution of questing Ixodes ricinus ticks in suburban forest intensively visited by people. The local-scale observations conducted during a 4-year study at 99 plots (of 100m 2 each) located throughout the entire area of a riparian urban forest, showed a high variation in the density of ticks from year to year. Although I. ricinus is generally permanent in the study area, spatial distribution of sample plots harbouring I. ricinus is variable, i.e. mainly random for adults and larvae, and random or clustered for nymphs. Among the most common plant species in the herb layer, there were not any species which had a statistically significant and constant impact on the occurrence of any of the development stages of I. ricinus. Also relations between the density of tick development stages and vegetation variables, including cover of the herb layer, total species number, species number of the herb layer, and percentage coverage of particular species, as well as ecological indices for light, soil moisture, reaction, and nutrients, did not show any constant and predictable pattern in subsequent years of the study. Only tree and shrub layers were found as variables positively affecting the density of ticks. Although small, suburban forests can be considered as tick-borne risk areas, it is impossible to determine in details areas of tick-borne risk.
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