A Review of the Development and Survival of Ticks in Tropical Africa

  • Daniel K. Punyua
Tick Ecology and Modelling


Tropical African ticks are found on their hosts throughout the year, but at varying infestation levels. These population changes, for most of the time, have been associated with climatic changes. Their development is inversely related to temperature. Several workers reported that development failed for a number of tick species at temperatures below 15°C, suggesting a possible lower temperature threshold for tick development. The upper development limit for most of the tropical rhipicephalids appear to be 37°C.

Ticks are particularly susceptible to attack during lethargic pre-moulting and the weak post-moulting period. Many biological features enable them, however, to survive especially well. They lay numerous eggs and withstand a comparatively wide temperature and humidity range with greater ease. They survive for months or years without food.

Their degree of host specificity varies from genus to genus or within subgroups of various genera. The requirement of two or more kinds of hosts often with divergent habits, limits their distribution to certain faunal areas.

This paper reviews our current knowledge on development and survival of ixodid ticks under tropical field conditions including some laboratory studies.

Key Words

Development survival ticks tropical Africa Ixodidae natural conditions laboratory conditions 


Dans les pays tropicaux, les tiques sont présentés toute l’année sur leurs hôtes, a des degrés d’infestation variables. Tres souvent ces variations en densité de la population des tiques sont liées aux fluctuations climatiques de même que l’accroissement de la population est inversement proportionnelle a la température. Certains auteurs rapportent qu’il y a arrêt de developpement chez certaines espèces de tiques, a des températures de moins de 15°C, et suggèrent l’existence d’une temperature minimum seuil indispensable au developpement des tiques. La temperature extreme compatible au developpement des tiques du genre Rhipicephalus se trouve entre de 37°C.

Les tiques sont particulièrement sensibles aux attaques des predateurs pendant la période de lethargie precèdant et succédant la mue.

Plusieurs charactéristiques biologiques leur permettent de bien survivre. Elles pondent de tres nombreux oeufs et supportent tres aisement de grandes gammes de temperature et d’humidite. Elles vivent plusieurs mois voire années sans s’alimenter. La relation hôte-parasite varie de genre et genre et meme au sein des sous groupes appartenant a différents genres.

L’existence de deux ou plusieurs try pes d’hôtes ayant très souvent des comportements différents, limite leur distribution a la faune de certaines régions.

L’objectif de cette étude est de procéder a une revûe de l’état des connaissances actuelles sur le developpement et la survie des tiques ixodides dans les conditions naturelles en milieu tropical de même que celles de laboratoire.

Mots Clés

Développement survie tiques afrique tropicale Ixodidae conditions naturelles conditions de laboratoire 


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Copyright information

© ICIPE 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel K. Punyua
    • 1
  1. 1.The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)NairobiKenya

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