Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 59, Issue 1–2, pp 219–244 | Cite as

Changing distributions of ticks: causes and consequences

  • Elsa LégerEmail author
  • Gwenaël Vourc’h
  • Laurence Vial
  • Christine Chevillon
  • Karen D. McCoy


Today, we are witnessing changes in the spatial distribution and abundance of many species, including ticks and their associated pathogens. Evidence that these changes are primarily due to climate change, habitat modifications, and the globalisation of human activities are accumulating. Changes in the distribution of ticks and their invasion into new regions can have numerous consequences including modifications in their ecological characteristics and those of endemic species, impacts on the dynamics of local host populations and the emergence of human and livestock disease. Here, we review the principal causes for distributional shifts in tick populations and their consequences in terms of the ecological attributes of the species in question (i.e. phenotypic and genetic responses), pathogen transmission and disease epidemiology. We also describe different methodological approaches currently used to assess and predict such changes and their consequences. We finish with a discussion of new research avenues to develop in order to improve our understanding of these host–vector–pathogen interactions in the context of a changing world.


Global change Habitat modification Ixodidae Argasidae Tick-borne disease 



The authors would like to thank two anonymous referees for helpful comments on a previous version of this manuscript, Mrs AM Hello for her corrections and her critical reading of the manuscript, and the members of the group ‘Ticks and tick-borne diseases’ of the REID for useful discussions. KM and CC were supported by the CNRS and the IRD, and GV by the INRA. LV recognises support from the CIRAD, the ECDC (European Centre for Diseases prevention and Control) and the European Union (FP7-KBBE-2007, project ASFRISK). EL was supported by a PhD fellowship from the University of Montpellier 1.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elsa Léger
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gwenaël Vourc’h
    • 2
  • Laurence Vial
    • 3
  • Christine Chevillon
    • 1
  • Karen D. McCoy
    • 1
  1. 1.MIVEGEC (UMR UM2-UM1-CNRS 5290, UR IRD 224), Centre IRDMontpellier Cedex 5France
  2. 2.INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique), UR346 Epidémiologie AnimaleSaint Genes ChampanelleFrance
  3. 3.CIRAD, BIOS UMR15 (TA A-15/G), Campus International de BaillarguetMontpellier Cedex 5France

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