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Survival and water-balance characteristics of unfed adult Amblyomma cajennense (Acari: Ixodidae)



Survival and water-balance characteristics of unfed adult Amblyomma cajennense (Acari: Ixodidae)



Journal of Medical Entomology 33(1): 63-73



Off-host survival, water balance, and cold tolerance of unfed adult, Cayenne ticks, Amblyomma cajennense (F.), were examined to evaluate species characteristics important to zoogeography and off-host ecology. Survivorship decreased when males and females were subjected to progressively drier constant environmental conditions. Average maximum survival was 641.2 and 682.5 d at 85% RH and 23 degrees C (2.98 mm Hg) for males and females, respectively. Mean survival in both sexes was progressively less variable in drier conditions. Slopes of log-linear models of survival days based on saturation deficit (mm Hg) were significantly different between males and females at 50%, but not at 25 or 0%. Whole-body water loss rates for 4-wk-old adults were measured at 0% RH and 23 degrees C until ticks became nonambulatory. The mean whole-body water loss rate of females, 0.06128% h-1, was 11.3% less than for males, 0.06914% h-1. Although nonambulatory ticks appeared dead, >1/2 of the individuals from each sex regained ambulatory status after they were removed from 0% RH and exposed to 96% RH for 24 h. Among these, male ticks averaged 0.44 more recuperative (ambulatory) cycles than females, although, the duration encompassing all recuperative cycles was generally longer for females and on average, females gained 8.16% more weight than males upon each rehydration. Estimates of the mean critical equilibrium activity for males and females were 0.74 av and 0.79 av, respectively. A. cajennense adults were found to be less tolerant to -12.5 degrees C than adult lone star ticks, Amblyomma americanum (L.), whose distribution encompasses more temperate regions. Although A. cajennense exhibit little host preference and are capable of extended off-host survival, the establishment of populations beyond this species zoogeographic distribution may be constrained by an intolerance to cold.

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Accession: 002973057

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 8906907

DOI: 10.1093/jmedent/33.1.63


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