A mammal tick with a taste for lizard blood: Parasitism by the kangaroo soft tick, (Ornithodoros gurneyi) on sleepy lizards (Tiliqua rugosa)

Gerrut Norval, Robert D. Sharrad, Michael G. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The kangaroo soft tick (Ornithodoros gurneyi) inhabits xeric habitats of Australia and, as a result, little is known about the natural hosts of the different life stages of this tick. Large macropods are inferred as the kangaroo soft tick's principal hosts since all life stages inhabit the loose soil of kangaroo wallows. These ticks have been reported to parasitize bearded dragons (Pogona barbata) and sleepy lizards (Tiliqua rugosa), however it is not known whether these lizards are competent hosts of this tick. In this study the prevalence and intensity of O. gurneyi parasitism on T. rugosa was examined by sampling lizards at a long-term study site spanning a precipitation-induced ecological gradient. The competence of T. rugosa as a host for O. gurneyi was explored by keeping larvae and nymphs of O. gurneyi, that had fed on T. rugosa, in captivity to determine if they will survive and moult. We found that O. gurneyi occurs throughout the study site, but that they were seldom recorded to parasitise T. rugosa. Still, it was noted that T. rugosa is a competent host of O. gurneyi. The results of this study indicate that kangaroos are not the only competent hosts of O. gurneyi and raises the question of whether T. rugosa and other lizards may play a role in the dispersal of these ticks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101859
Number of pages11
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Argasidae
  • Host competency
  • Ornithodoros gurneyi
  • Tiliqua rugosa

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