Ecological aspects of the free-living ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) on animal trails within Atlantic rainforest in south-eastern Brazil
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In a recent ecological study of the ticks on animal trails within an area of Atlantic rainforest in south-eastern Brazil, Amblyomma aureolatum, A. brasiliense, A. incisum, A. ovale and Haemaphysalis juxtakochi were found questing on the vegetation. Most of the ticks recorded by a small, man-made dam on the forest border were A. dubitatum but a few A. brasiliense and A. cajennense, one A. incisum and one H. juxtakochi were also found. The seasonal activity of the ticks indicated that A. incisum and A. brasiliense had one generation/year.On the animal trails, most tick species and stages quested on the vegetation at a height of 30-40 cm above ground level. The questing larvae and adults of A. incisum tended to be found higher, however, with the greatest numbers recorded 40-50 cm (larvae) or 60-70 cm (adults) above ground level. Most of the adult ticks (81.1% -100%), nymphs (78.6%-100%) and larval clusters (100%) found on a forest trail remained questing at the same location over a 24-h period.Carbon-dioxide traps in the rainforest attracted, 50% of the ticks observed questing on the nearby vegetation and, curiously, the CO(2) traps set deep in the forest attracted far fewer ticks than similar traps set by the dam.The ecological relationships between the ticks, their hosts and the rainforest environment are discussed.
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