Experimental & Applied Acarology

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 215–233 | Cite as

Habitat-related variation in infestation of lizards and rodents with Ixodes ticks in dense woodlands in Mendocino County, California

Article

Abstract

During the spring and early summer of 2002, we examined the relative importance of Borrelia-refractory lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis, Elgaria spp.) versus potential Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.)-reservoirs (rodents) as hosts for Ixodes pacificus immatures in 14 woodland areas (six oak, five mixed oak/Douglas fir, and three redwood/tanoak areas) distributed throughout Mendocino County, California. Lizards were estimated to serve as hosts for 93–98% of all larvae and ≥99.6% of all nymphs infesting lizards or rodents in oak woodlands and oak/Douglas fir sites in the southern part of the county. In redwood/tanoak woodlands and oak/Douglas fir sites in northern Mendocino County, the contribution of rodents to larval feedings reached 36–69% but lizards still accounted for 94–100% of nymphal bloodmeals. From late April to mid-June, I. pacificus larvae were recovered from 95 to 96% of lizards and dusky-footed woodrats (Neotoma fuscipes) and from 59% of Peromyscus spp. mice. In contrast, 99% of lizards but few woodrats (15%) and none of the mice were infested by nymphs. Comparisons of tick loads for 19 lizard–Peromyscus spp. mouse pairings, where the lizard and mouse were captured within 10 m of each other, revealed that the lizards harbored 36 times more larvae and >190 times more nymphs than the mice. In oak woodlands, loads of I. pacificus larvae decreased from late April/early May to late June for S. occidentalis lizards but increased for Peromyscus spp. mice. We conclude that the relative utilization of Borrelia-refractory lizards, as compared to rodents, by I. pacificus larvae was far higher in dry oak woodlands than in moister habitats such as redwood/tanoak and oak/Douglas fir woodlands in northern Mendocino County. Non-lizard-infesting potential enzootic vectors of B. burgdorferi s.l. (I. angustus and I. spinipalpis) were recorded from rodents in three of six oak woodland areas, two of five oak/Douglas fir woodland areas, and two of three redwood/tanoak woodland areas.

Borrelia burgdorferi California Infestation Ixodes pacificus Lizards Rodents 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca J. Eisen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lars Eisen
    • 1
  • Robert S. Lane
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and ManagementUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.University of California Hopland Research and Extension CenterHoplandUSA

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