Seasonal infestation of birds with immature stages of Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes arboricola
Abstract This study assessed the parasitization of cavity-nesting birds and ground-nesting/foraging birds with larvae and nymphs of two Ixodes species, Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes arboricola . Totals of 679 (52.3%) I. ricinus and 619 (47.7%) I. arboricola ticks were collected from 15 species of passerine birds which were caught during the nesting and non-nesting periods of 2003–2006, in the south-eastern part of the Czech Republic, the DrahanskA Vrchovina Uplands. In the non-nesting period from October to March, 6.8% (101/1492) of birds were infested with ticks, mainly with I. arboricola larvae. In the non-nesting period, the average intensity of infestation by I. arboricola and I. ricinus was 8.5 and 1.5 individuals per infested bird, respectively. In the nesting period from April to June, 21.6% (50/232) of birds were infested by both tick species but mainly with I. ricinus nymphs. The average intensity of infestation by I. ricinus and I. arboricola was 13.3 and 10.8 individuals per infested bird, respectively. Altogether, 23.2% of the infested birds were parasitized by both immature life stages of one or both tick species. From an enzootic perspective, co-feeding and co-infestation of I. ricinus and I. arboricola subadults on passerine birds might happen and may be important for the dissemination of tick-borne agents.
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