Ticks are not Insects: Consequences of Contrasting Vector Biology for Transmission Potential

Parasitol Today. 1998 May;14(5):186-92. doi: 10.1016/s0169-4758(98)01224-1.


Quantitative analyses of vector-borne parasite systems are dominated by insect systems. In attempts to formulate general statements concerning vectors and their indirectly transmitted parasites, ticks are usually ignored or they are implicitly or explicitly assumed to obey the same rules as insects. Here, Sarah Randolph shows that contrasting biological attributes of these two different arthropod classes (ticks and insects) directly affect their performance as vectors. The equations for estimating their respective potential to transmit parasites differ in important respects, as does the relative impact of each factor on these estimates. These conclusions direct attention towards the empirical field data most appropriate for quantifying the spatially and temporally variable risk of infection from these contrasting vector-borne parasite systems.