Host Bloodmeal Identification in Cave-dwelling Ornithodoros turicata Dugès (Ixodida: Argasidae), Texas, USA
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Tick-host bloodmeal associations are important factors when characterizing risks of associated pathogen transmission and applying appropriate management strategies. Despite their biological importance, comparatively little is known about soft tick (Argasidae) host associations in the United States compared to hard ticks (Ixodidae). In this study, we evaluated a PCR and direct Sanger sequencing method for identifying the bloodmeal hosts of soft ticks. We collected 381 cave-associated Ornithodoros turicata near San Antonio, Texas, USA, and also utilized eight colony-reared specimens fed artificially on known host blood sources over 1.5 years ago. We correctly identified the vertebrate host bloodmeals of two colony-reared ticks (chicken and pig) up to 1,105 days post-feeding, and identified bloodmeal hosts from 19 out of 168 field-collected soft ticks, including raccoon (78.9%), black vulture (10.5%), Texas black rattlesnake (5.3%), and human (5.3%). Our results confirm the retention of vertebrate blood DNA in soft ticks and advance the knowledge of argasid host associations in cave-dwelling O. turicata.
Busselman, Rachel; Hamer, Gabriel (2021). Host Bloodmeal Identification in Cave-dwelling Ornithodoros turicata Dugès (Ixodida: Argasidae), Texas, USA. Available electronically from
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