Survival and behaviour of unfed stages of the ticksRhipicephalus appendiculatus, Boophilus decoloratus andB. microplus under field conditions in Zimbabwe
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- Short, N.J., Floyd, R.B., Norval, R.A.I. et al. Exp Appl Acarol (1989) 6: 215. doi:10.1007/BF01193981
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The survival and behaviour of the unfed stages ofRhipicephalus appendiculatus, Boophilus decoloratus andB. microplus in gauze columns were observed in long and short grass in the highveld of Zimbabwe. Ticks were exposed in the cool, hot and rainy seasons of 1980 and 1981. All species and stages survived longer in long grass than in short grass. Larvae from engorged female ticks released in the cool season hatched much later than incubator-reared controls. They were consequently not present during the cold weather and survived longer than larvae subjected to the low temperatures, in which the shortest survival-times were recorded. The survival of nymphs was insensitive to season. The longest survival-times were recorded in adults. Median survival-times of incubator-reared adults ranged from 165 to 375 days in short grass and from 333 to 493 days in long grass. These times were usually longer than those for adults which moulted in the field. Larvae of the three species and nymphs ofR. appendiculatus were active soon after hatching or moulting, irrespective of the season. In contrast, adults ofR. appendiculatus showed different patterns of activity in different seasons. Adults first appeared at the base of the columns in October/November and then gradually ascended to reach a maximum height in December/January. They remained high up in the columns until May/June when the weather became increasingly cold and dry. Larvae ofB. decoloratus climbed higher up in the columns in the long grass than did the larvae of the other two species.
Larvae and nymphs ofR. appendiculatus and larvae ofB. microplus migrated up and down the columns daily, but larvae ofB. decoloratus and adults ofR. appendiculatus did not migrate.