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Off-host aggregation in the non-fed, female brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Latreille), is induced by tick excreta and enhanced by low relative humidity.

Authors
  • Yoder, J A
  • Jajack, A J
  • Hedges, B Z
  • Benoit, J B
Type
Published Article
Journal
Medical and veterinary entomology
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2013
Volume
27
Issue
2
Pages
209–215
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2915.2012.01040.x
PMID: 22928633
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

We report that Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Ixodida: Ixodidae) faeces and its main component, guanine, act as assembly pheromones in short-range Petri plate bioassays. Arrestment activity in response to guanine was lower than that in response to natural excreta, indicating the presence of other active ingredients in natural excreta. The selective removal of appendages was used to establish the important roles played by the palps and the front pair of legs in the detection of the pheromone. Reaction to chemically pure guanine at varying concentrations occurred without a dose response; thus only the presence of guanine, not a critical amount, is required to induce assembly. Higher speed and intensity of clustering occurred at 33% relative humidity (RH). We conclude that female adults of R. sanguineus are more prone to assemble under dry conditions that match the arid microhabitats preferred by this species and that this tendency allows this tick to reside in human dwellings and dog kennels that maintain standards of comfort at 30-50% RH. Cleaning or removing tick excreta-covered surfaces on which ticks aggregate from within and around human dwellings may prove useful as a means of interfering with the establishment of off-host clusters of R. sanguineus.

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