Biological aspects of Amblyomma brasiliense (Acari: Ixodidae) under laboratory conditions
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Although Amblyomma brasiliense Aragão 1908 has been reported as one of the most aggressive ticks to humans in Brazil, information about the biology of this tick species is virtually inexistent. This work reports data on the life cycle of A. brasiliense fed on rabbits and pigs and maintained in an incubator at 20°C, 90% RH and 12 h of light for off-host development. Tick yield of adult females fed on pigs and rabbits was 81.2% and 58.3%, respectively. Females fed on pigs had mean engorgement weight of 862.3 mg and egg mass of 208 mg, while females fed on rabbits had mean engorgement weight of 606.1 mg and egg mass of 160 mg; these values did not differ statistically between host species. Feeding period of female ticks fed on pigs (10 days) was significantly shorter than that on rabbits (17 days). Mean preoviposition period was slightly longer (35.9 days) for ticks fed on pigs than on rabbits (30 days). The minimum incubation period of eggs of ticks from both host species was similar and over 100 days. Egg production efficiency was low for females fed on both hosts (less than 30% and 20% for ticks from pigs and rabbits, respectively). More than 55% of larvae and 79% of nymphs fed on rabbits, set free inside the feeding chambers, engorged successfully. These ticks attained an engorgement weight of 1.3 and 18.2 mg, respectively, and fed for approximately 5 days. The minimum pre-molt period was 30 days for engorged larvae and over 44 days for nymphs. Molting success was low, less than 50% in the case of larvae and less than 20% for nymphs. Further studies are required to better determine the off-host requirements of this tick species. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.