Ecology and phenology of ticks in Zambia: Seasonal dynamics on cattle
A study of the seasonality and infestation rates of ticks was carried out in 11 cattle herds in different ecological habitats in Zambia between 1980 and 1982. Wherever possible supplementary data were obtained from opportunistic collections from cattle and other hosts.
Analysis of over 1000 tick collections from cattle indicated that infestation rates of the most important species,Amblyomma variegatum andRhipicephalus appendiculatus vary in different ecological habitats: (i) In Western Province, infestations are much lower than elsewhere; (ii) in Central and Southern Provinces, moderate to high infestations occur; and (iii) in Eastern Province,R. appendiculatus numbers are generally low andA. variegatum numbers are moderate.
These two species, however, have similar life cycles throughout their range with one generation per year. Larvae occur mainly from March to May, nymphae from May to September, and adults ofA. variegatum from October to December and ofR. appendiculatus from December to April.
Boophilus decoloratus appears to have two to four generations per year but is uncommon during the rainy season. In some areas in central ZambiaRhipicephalus compositus adults are seasonally common in September–October whereasRhipicephalus evertsi is more or less ubiquitous. Low to moderate infestations ofHyalomma truncatum andHyalomma rufipes occur in most areas.
At least 14 other less common or rare species ofRhipicephalus, Amblyomma, Haemaphysalis andIxodes were taken infrequently from cattle. These and other host-specific species were also collected from dogs, sheep, various wildlife hosts and the environment.
Infestation rates, seasonality and host-relationship of tick species are discussed in relation to their ecology. Relevant biosystematic and disease relationships are reviewed briefly. The baseline data derived from this study are adequate for integrated analysis with those from other ecological and economic investigations to formulate tick control strategies.
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