High-resolution predictive mapping for Rhipicephalus appendiculatus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Horn of Africa
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- Leta, S., De Clercq, E.M. & Madder, M. Exp Appl Acarol (2013) 60: 531. doi:10.1007/s10493-013-9670-1
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The brown ear tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, vector of East Coast fever (ECF) and related cattle diseases caused by Theileria parva has never been reported from the Horn of Africa. Habitat suitability for this tick species was predicted using Maxent modelling technique based on R. appendiculatus records in Sub-Saharan Africa. Two models were developed: the first is based on the tropical R. appendiculatus distribution and the one is based on the distribution records in the temperate region of Sub-Saharan Africa. The tropical model shows favourable habitat in much of the Ethiopian highlands. The whole Djibouti, the south eastern Ethiopian lowlands, majority of Somalia and Eritrea were found to be not suitable for the survival and development of this tick species. Highly suitable areas occur in areas which have moderate temperature and high precipitation. Introductions of R. appendiculatus into the Horn of Africa probably have been prevented by the natural barrier between the known R. appendiculatus distribution range in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. The effect of an introduction of R. appendiculatus and thereby ECF into the Horn of Africa could be catastrophic since the cattle in this area have no immunity against ECF, and mortality might be considerable in all age groups of cattle.