Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 317–328 | Cite as

Ecological preferences and seasonal dynamics of ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) on and off bovine hosts in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

  • M. Yawa
  • N. Nyangiwe
  • V. Muchenje
  • C. T. Kadzere
  • T. C. Mpendulo
  • M. C. Marufu


A total of 31,425 ticks were collected from 10 cattle and also from six drag-samples during the 12-month study period. Adult ticks were removed from the right hand side of each animal and all instars of ticks were placed in containers filled with 70% ethanol. Based on morphological traits, 10 tick species were identified: Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) decoloratus (32.5%), R. evertsi evertsi (18.8%), R. appendiculatus (17.3%), Amblyomma hebraeum (16.3%), R. simus (7.7%), Ixodes pilosus (3.8%), Hyalomma rufipes (3.5%), R. follis (0.08%), Haemaphysalis elliptica (0.04%), H. silacea (0.02%). The southern African yellow dog tick, H. elliptica, was only found on vegetation. The agro-ecological zones differ significantly in tick species and their distribution. The A. hebraeum and R. evertsi evertsi counts were higher in Kowie Thicket (KT) during summer season (2.05 ± 0.01 and 1.00 ± 0.09, respectively) compared to Bedford Dry Grassland (BDG) and Bhisho Thornveld (BT) veld types. In all vegetation types, R. appendiculatus had higher counts in KT in spring (0.91 ± 0.08), summer (0.78 ± 0.08) and winter (0.78 ± 0.08). Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) decoloratus was more frequent in the BT (1.78 ± 0.11) during the summer season. BDG had lower tick infestation with R. evertsi evertsi being the most frequent species in summer. No H. rufipes was collected in the KT. Of epidemiological interest, R. (B.) microplus was absent in the study area which needs further investigation. Within the context of this study, we found agro-ecological differences and seasonal variations to have influence on tick species distribution.


Agro-ecological zones Cattle Eastern Cape Province Season Tick distribution 



We sincerely thank the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform (DRDAR) for allowing us to use its facilities and animals for the success of this study. A special thank you goes to the staff and colleagues at the Department of Livestock and Pasture, University of Fort Hare, who provided moral and intellectual support throughout the study. Lastly, we value the financial support from National Research Foundation (NRF) (Grant Number: 102941) for this study. The grant holder acknowledges that opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in any publication generated by the NRF-supported research are those of the authors and are not necessarily to be attributed to the NRF.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Livestock and Pasture Science, Faculty of Science and AgricultureUniversity of Fort HareAliceSouth Africa
  2. 2.Dohne Agricultural Development InstituteStutterheimSouth Africa
  3. 3.Faculty of Veterinary SciencesUniversity of PretoriaOnderstepoortSouth Africa

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