Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 167–178 | Cite as

Presence of host-seeking Ixodes ricinus and their infection with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato in the Northern Apennines, Italy

  • Charlotte Ragagli
  • Alessandro MannelliEmail author
  • Cecilia Ambrogi
  • Donal Bisanzio
  • Leonardo A. Ceballos
  • Elena Grego
  • Elisa Martello
  • Marco Selmi
  • Laura Tomassone


Host-seeking ticks were collected in the Northern Apennines, Italy, by dragging at 35 sites, at altitudes ranging from 680 and 1670 m above sea level (asl), from April to November, in 2010 and 2011. Ixodes ricinus (4431 larvae, 597 nymphs and 12 adults) and Haemaphysalis punctata (11,209 larvae, 313 nymphs, and 25 adults) were the most abundant species, followed by Haemaphysalis sulcata (20 larvae, five nymphs, and 13 adults), Dermacentor marginatus (42 larvae and two adults) and Ixodes hexagonus (one nymph). Greatest numbers of ticks were collected at locations characterised by southern exposure and limestone substratum, at altitudes <1400 m asl; I. ricinus was most abundant in Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) wood, whereas H. punctata was mostly collected in hop hornbeam (Ostrya carpinifolia) wood and on exposed rocks. Ixodes ricinus was also found up to 1670 m asl, in high stand beech (Fagus sylvatica) wood. The overall prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (sl) in 294 host-seeking I. ricinus nymphs was 8.5 %. Borrelia garinii was the most frequently identified genospecies (64.0 % of positive nymphs), followed by B. valaisiana, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, B. afzelii, and B. lusitaniae. Based upon the comparison with the results of previous studies at the same location, these research findings suggest the recent invasion of the study area by the tick vector and the agents of Lyme borreliosis.


Haemaphysalis spp. Dermacentor marginatus Ixodidae Northern Apennines Italy 



The Corpo Forestale dello Stato, Ufficio Territoriale per la Biodiversità, Lucca, provided accommodation, animal handling facilities, and valuable help. Michela Adami and Maurizio Pieroni, helped with fieldwork. The study was funded by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca, and by the Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Torino.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ufficio Territoriale per la BiodiversitàCorpo Forestale dello StatoLuccaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze VeterinarieUniversità degli Studi di TorinoGrugliasco, TurinItaly
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyOxford UniversityOxfordUK
  4. 4.Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Val d’AostaTurinItaly
  5. 5.Osservatorio Permanente per Patologie a trasmissione Vettoriale, ASL2LuccaItaly

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