Experimental & Applied Acarology

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 25–45 | Cite as

Ecology and phenology of ticks in Zambia: Seasonal dynamics on cattle

  • R. G. Pegram
  • B. D. Perry
  • F. L. Musisi
  • B. Mwanaumo


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.


Rainy Season Seasonal Dynamic Tick Species Cattle Herd Infestation Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akafekwa, G.I., 1976. Control of tick-borne diseases of cattle in Zambia with special emphasis on East Coast fever. Bull. Off. Int. Epizooties, 86:105–116.Google Scholar
  2. Anon., 1984. Country Profile, Republic of Zambia. Central Statistics Office, Lusaka, 102 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Belozerov, V.N., 1982. Diapause and biological rhythms in ticks. In: R.D. Obenchain and R. Galun (Editors), Physiology of Ticks. Pergamon Press, Oxford, pp. 469–500.Google Scholar
  4. Carr, W.R., MacLeod, J., Woolf, B. and Spooner, R.L., 1974. A survey of the relationship of genetic markers, tick-infestation level and genetic markers in Zebu cattle in Zambia. Trop. Anim. Health Prod., 6: 203–214.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Hoogstraal, H., 1956. African Ixodoidea, I. Ticks of Sudan (with special reference to Equatoria province and with preliminary reviews of the generaBoophilus, Margaropus andHyalomma). Department of the Navy, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Washington, DC, 1101 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Jongejan, F., Lemche, J., Mwase, E.T. and Kafunda, M.M., 1986. Bovine Babesiosis (Babesia bovis infection) in Zambia. Vet. Q., in press.Google Scholar
  7. MacLeod, J., 1970. Tick infestation patterns in the southern province of Zambia. Bull. Entomol. Res., 60: 253–274.Google Scholar
  8. MacLeod, J. and Colbo, M.H., 1976. Ecological studies of Ixodid ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) in Zambia. I. Cattle as hosts of the larvae ofAmblyomma variegatum (F.) andRhipicephalus appendiculatus Neum. Bull. Entomol. Res., 66: 65–74.Google Scholar
  9. MacLeod, J. and Mwanaumo, B., 1978. Ecological studies of Ixodid ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) in Zambia. IV. Some anomalous infestation patterns in the northern and eastern regions. Bull. Entomol. Res., 68: 409–429.Google Scholar
  10. MacLeod, J., Colbo, M.H. and Bek-Pedersen, S., 1970. Occurrence of the spinose eartick in Zambia. Bull. Epizootic Dis. Afr., 18: 355–358.Google Scholar
  11. MacLeod, J., Colbo, M.H., Madbouly, M.H. and Mwanaumo, B., 1977. Ecological studies of Ixodid ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) in Zambia. III. Seasonal activity and attachment sites on cattle, with notes on other hosts. Bull. Entomol. Res., 67: 161–173.Google Scholar
  12. Mason, C.A. and Norval, R.A.I., 1980. The Ticks of Zimbabwe. I. The genusBoophilus. Zimbabwe Wet. J., 3/4: 36–43.Google Scholar
  13. Matthysse, J.G., 1954. Report on tick-borne diseases, Northern Rhodesia. Government Printer, Lusaka, 28 pp.Google Scholar
  14. Musisi, F.L. and Hussein, N.A., 1985. Isolation, transmission and some serological aspects ofCowdria ruminantium (Kafue). O.I.E. Sci. Tech. Rev. 4(1): 131–137.Google Scholar
  15. Musisi, F.L., Jongejan, F., Pegram, R.G. and Munyama, G., 1984. Isolation and transmission ofTheileria mutans (Chisamba) in Zambia. Res. Vet. Sci., 36: 129–131.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Musisi, F.L., Schels, H.F. and Morgan, D.W.T., 1985. The treatment of Theileriosis with Parvaquone in the Southern Province of Zambia. Vet. Rec., 117: 338–339.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Pegram, R.G., Perry, B.D. and Schels, H.F., 1984. Seasonal dynamics of parasitic and non-parasitic stages of cattle ticks in Zambia. In: D.A. Griffiths and C.E. Bowman (Editors), Acarology VI, Ellis Horwood, Chichester, Vol. 2, pp. 1183–1188.Google Scholar
  18. Perry, B.D., Mwanaumo, B., Schels, H.F., Eicher, E. and Zaman, M.R., 1984. A study of health and productivity of traditionally managed cattle in Zambia. Prev. Vet. Med., 2: 633–653.Google Scholar
  19. Perry, B.D., Musisi, F.L., Pegram, R.G. and Schels, H.F., 1985. Assessment of enzootic stability to tick-borne diseases. World Animal Rev., 56: 24–32.Google Scholar
  20. Plowright, W., 1956. Cutaneous streptothricosis of cattle: I. Introduction and epizootiological features in Nigeria. Vet. Rec., 68: 350–355.Google Scholar
  21. Purnell, R., 1984. Control of Heartwater in cattle in southern Africa using Terramycin/LA. Prev. Vet. Med., 2: 239–254.Google Scholar
  22. Rechav, Y., 1982. Dynamics of tick populations (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. J. Med. Entomol., 19: 679–700.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Short, N.J. and Norval, R.A.I., 1981. Regulation of seasonal occurrence in the tickRhipicephalus appendiculatus Neumann, 1901. Trop. Anim. Health Prod., 13: 19–26.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Spickett, A.M. and Malan, J.R., 1978. Genetic incompatibility betweenBoophilus decoloratus (Koch, 1844) andBoophilus microplus (Canestrini, 1888) and hybrid sterility of Australian and South AfricanBoophilus microplus (Acarine: Ixodidae). Onderstepoort J. Vet. Res., 45: 149–153.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Thompson, G.D., Osburn, R.L., Davey, R.B. and Price, M.A., 1981. The dynamics and hybrid sterility betweenBoophilus annulatus andB. microplus (Acari: Ixodidae) through successive generations. J. Med. Entomol., 18:413–418.Google Scholar
  26. Yeoman, G.H. and Walker, J.B., 1967. The ixodid ticks of Tanzania. A study of the zoogeography of the Ixodidae of East African countries. Commonwealth Institute of Entomology, London, 215 pp.Google Scholar
  27. Walker, J.B., 1974. The ixodid ticks of Kenya. A review of present knowledge of their hosts and distribution. Commonwealth Institute of Entomology, London, 220 pp.Google Scholar
  28. Zivkovic, D., Pegram, R.G., Jongejan, F. and Mwase, E.T., 1986. Biology ofRhipicephalus appendiculatus andR. zambeziensis and production of a fertile hybrid under laboratory conditions. Exp. Appl. Acarol., in press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. G. Pegram
    • 1
  • B. D. Perry
    • 1
  • F. L. Musisi
    • 1
  • B. Mwanaumo
    • 2
  1. 1.F.A.O. “Animal Disease Control” ProjectLusakaZambia
  2. 2.Central Veterinary Research InstituteLusakaZambia

Personalised recommendations