Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 309–318 | Cite as

Detection of Rickettsia spp. in ticks parasitizing toads (Rhinella marina) in the northern Brazilian Amazon

  • Hermes Ribeiro LuzEmail author
  • Ercileide Silva-Santos
  • Carlos Eduardo Costa-Campos
  • Igor Acosta
  • Thiago F. Martins
  • Sebástian Muñoz-Leal
  • Douglas McIntosh
  • João Luis Horacio Faccini
  • Marcelo B. Labruna


This study evaluated rickettsial infection in ticks collected on toads from the northern Brazilian Amazon (Amapá state), where to our knowledge there are neither records of ticks from amphibians nor rickettsial infections in ticks. During 2016–2017, a total of 22 free-living toads were captured and identified as Rhinella marina. Overall, 12 (54.5%) toads were parasitized by a total of 97 ticks (6 males, 39 females, 31 nymphs, 21 larvae), giving a mean intensity of 8.1 ticks per infested toad. Two tick species were morphologically identified: Amblyomma rotundatum Koch (31 females, 14 nymphs), and Amblyomma dissimile Koch (6 males, 8 females, 17 nymphs). The 21 larvae were morphologically denoted as Amblyomma sp. Five toads were co-infested by A. rotundatum and A. dissimile. Morphological identifications were confirmed by nucleotide sequencing of fragments of the mitochondrial genes 16S rDNA, 12S rDNA and/or COX1. A total of 54 ticks were analyzed for the presence of rickettsial DNA. Eleven (9 females and 2 nymphs) out of 14 A. rotundatum ticks contained Rickettsia bellii. None of the 25 specimens of A. dissimile (6 males, 6 females, 13 nymphs) contained amplifiable rickettsial DNA. From 15 Amblyomma sp. larvae, a pool of 10 individuals contained Rickettsia sp. strain Colombianensi. Sequencing of the 16S rDNA amplicon derived from the positive pool yielded a sequence of A. dissimile. We detected Rickettsia sp. strain Colombianensi for the first time in Brazil. Prior records of this agent were restricted to Colombia and Honduras. In addition, we report the presence of A. rotundatum for the first time in the state of Amapá, where the only other record of A. dissimile was registered over 20 years ago.


Amblyomma rotundatum Amblyomma dissimile Rickettsia bellii Rickettsia sp. strain Colombianensi Amapá Brazil 



This study received financial support by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and Coordination Office for Improvement of Higher-Education Personnel (CAPES).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hermes Ribeiro Luz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ercileide Silva-Santos
    • 2
  • Carlos Eduardo Costa-Campos
    • 2
  • Igor Acosta
    • 1
  • Thiago F. Martins
    • 1
  • Sebástian Muñoz-Leal
    • 1
  • Douglas McIntosh
    • 3
  • João Luis Horacio Faccini
    • 3
  • Marcelo B. Labruna
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva e Saúde Animal, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e ZootecniaUniversidade de São Paulo (USP)São PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde, Laboratório de HerpetologiaUniversidade Federal do Amapá (UNIFAP)MacapáBrazil
  3. 3.Departamento de Parasitologia Animal, Instituto de VeterináriaUniversidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ)SeropédicaBrazil

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