Male-female interaction among different geographic strains of the Gulf Coast tick Amblyomma maculatum Koch
MetadataShow full item record
The overall goal of this research was to examine the interactions of adult Amblyomma maculatum Koch, the Gulf Coast tick, with respect to their utilization of hosts and to male-female cross strain interaction. Historical data along with two Petri dish experiments were used to understand male-female interaction in the field, and to determine if the aggregation attachment pheromone (AAP) produced by fed males of varying strains is attractive to geographic specific strains of unfed female ticks. It was hypothesized that questing female Gulf Coast ticks are attracted to fed males and can discriminate between grazing cattle with fed males and those without. Archival control data from ear tag studies conducted in 1985, 1987, and 1991 were analyzed to better understand female Gulf Coast tick behavior in the field relative to fed male tick presence. Females were found primarily on hosts with an abundance of male ticks, leading one to conclude that female ticks are attracted to hosts infested with male ticks. It was also discovered that females were more likely to be found on a host as the number of males on a host increased. A femaleÂs ability to detect hosts parasitized by males likely allows them to feed and mate on-host in a fairly limited period of time. A Petri dish bioassay was used to evaluate female preference to varying geographic strains of fed males. One experiment was designed to determine if a female preferred fed males from her geographically specific strain over other males. A second experiment evaluated female response to a non-specific male in the absence of her geographically specific male. While female responses to fed males regardless of strain were higher than to unfed male control ticks, no statistical differences in female response could be determined. The Petri dish bioassay was determined to be inadequate to test female preference over several populations of pheromone producing males, and a more intensive procedure was proposed.
Sleeba, Sarah Beth (2003). Male-female interaction among different geographic strains of the Gulf Coast tick Amblyomma maculatum Koch. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from