, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 543-552
Date: 20 Feb 2013

Red deer (Cervus elaphus ) as a host for the cattle tick Rhipicephalus microplus (Acari: Ixodidae) in Yucatan, Mexico

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Rhipicephalus microplus is the most economically important cattle tick in the Mexican tropics. Wild ungulate species, including red deer (Cervus elaphus), are gaining popularity in diversified livestock ranching operations in Mexico. However, there is no information available on the susceptibility of red deer to infestation with the cattle tick, R. microplus, under hot, subhumid tropical conditions in Mexico. Biological data on R. microplus as an ectoparasite of cattle and red deer in a farm in the Mexican tropics are presented here. Ticks collected from red deer were identified as R. microplus (97 %) and Amblyomma cajennense (3 %), and tick species infesting cattle included R. microplus (95 %) and A. cajennense (5 %). Standard counts of R. microplus engorged females on red deer were 11 times higher than on cattle (428 ± 43 vs. 40 ± 18; p < 0.001). The reproductive efficiency index and larval hatching of R. microplus collected from cattle and red deer were similar (p > 0.05). Hemolymph samples of R. microplus collected from cattle were positive for Babesia spp. (10 %, 2/50) and all the samples from ticks infesting red deer were negative. Seventeen and ten percent of the blood samples from cattle and red deer were positive for Anaplasma marginale, respectively. The role of red deer as a host of R. microplus in Yucatan, Mexico and the importance of this host-parasite relationship relative to the epidemiology of R. microplus-borne diseases are discussed.