Acquired resistance of horses to Amblyomma cajennense (Fabricius, 1787) ticks
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Acquired immunity of horses to larvae, nymphs and adults of the Amblyomma cajennense tick was evaluated through three consecutive experimental infestations of tick-bite naive hosts. Data from these infestations were compared to those from field-sensitized horses and donkeys. It was observed that tick-bite naive horses developed a low level of resistance after two infestations as shown by a significant decrease in larval yield and a tendency for lower engorged weight of nymphs during third infestation. Ticks fed on field-sensitized horses had a similar biological performance to that observed on the third infestation of tick-bite naive horses but the mean engorged nymph weight was significantly lower than that of the first infestation from tick-bite naive horses. Donkeys presented the strongest resistance with significantly lower engorged weights of all instars and of the egg mass compared to the first infestation of tick-bite naive horses. Donkeys also displayed a significantly higher resistance than field-sensitized horses as demonstrated by significantly lower egg mass weights. Overall these results indicate that donkeys but not horses maintain a strong resistance to A. cajennense ticks. The importance of these findings in relation to vectoring of tick-borne diseases is discussed. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.