Comparison of the survival of Theileria parva-iniected adult Rhipicephalus appendiculatus (Acari: Ixodidae) and their infection under simulated climate conditions in the laboratory and in the field

  • H. OchandaEmail author


Five groups of adult Rhipicephalus appendiculatus Neumann, with an average of 98 Theileria parva-infected salivary gland acini per tick, were exposed to four different temperature conditions in the laboratory or to quasi-natural conditions in Kenya. The survival of the infected ticks and T. parva parasites in their salivary glands were determined over time. Ticks kept under quasi-natural conditions survived up to 86 weeks. This period was longer than that of ticks exposed to any of the four laboratory conditions, except the diurnal temperature rhythm of 13–23 °C and 85% relative humidity (RH) to which it was comparable. Theileria parva survived for 82 weeks in ticks exposed to quasi-natural conditions, a period which was much longer than that of the parasites in ticks maintained under any of the laboratory conditions. Survival of the infected ticks and their infections seemed to be adversely affected by higher temperatures in the laboratory or drought in the field. There was an apparent density-dependent influence in parasite survival, with a dramatic fall in infection occurring in the more highly infected ticks before stabilizing at lower levels.


Resume: Cinq groupes de Rhipicephalus appendiculatus Neumann adultes avec un taux moyen d’infestation de leurs glandes salivaires de 98% par Theileria parva, ont été exposés à quatre conditions de température différentes au laboratoire et à des conditions presque naturelles. La survie des tiques et de leurs parasites a été suivie dans le temps. Les tiques maintenues en conditions naturelles ont survécu près de 86 semaines. Cette durée de survie est supérieure à celles observées dans les autres conditions de laboratoire, à l’exception des tiques maintenues à un rythme de températures de 13–23°C et une humidité relative de 85%. Theileria parva a survécu près de 82 semaines dans les tiques maintenues en conditions naturelles, une durée de survie supérieure à celles des parasites maintenues en conditions de laboratoire. La survie des tiques et de leurs parasites semble être altérée par les températures élevées du laboratoire et par la sécheresse des conditions naturelles. Il semble que la survie du parasite est fortement influencée par la densité, avec une chute drastique de l’infection sur les tiques fortement infestées, suivie d’une stabilisation aux faibles valeurs.

Key words

Theileria parva Rhipicephalus appendiculatus quasi-natural conditions laboratory environmental conditions survival density dependence 

Mots clés

Theileria parva Rhipicephalus appendiculatus conditions presque naturelles conditions de laboratoire survie densité dépendance 


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© ICIPE 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of NairobiNairobiKenya

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