Research Article

Environmental parameters affecting tick (Ixodes ricinus) distribution during the summer season in Richmond Park, London

B.P.J. Greenfield

Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK

Received:

31 Aug 2010

Accepted:

1 Mar 2011

Published:

3 May 2011

Volume:

4

Issue:

2

Keywords:

sheep tick, Ixodes ricinus, distribution, ecological parameters, questing nymphs

Abstract:

Ixodes ricinus, the sheep tick, as a consequence of its habit of taking blood from mammalian hosts, can transmit disease from wild animals to humans. This is likely to be a particular problem in parks shared by humans and deer populations. These ticks were sampled, using cloth drags, from vegetation at 16 sites in Richmond Park, London, between 15 July and 22 August 2009. A total of 2436 ‘host-seeking’ ticks (2281 larvae, 151 nymphs and 4 adults; three males and one female) were collected, and attempts were made to identify the environmental factors affecting the distribution of these ectoparasites. Tick presence was closely related to soil moisture, light levels and humidity throughout the park. It is thought that improving our understanding of how these factors influence the presence of I. ricinus will facilitate methods of tick control and help to educate the public about where ‘hotspots’ for these parasites are likely to be within the park.

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