Genetic diversity of ixodid ticks parasitizing eastern mouse and dwarf lemurs in Madagascar, with descriptions of the larva, nymph, and male of Ixodes lemuris (Acari: Ixodidae)

J Parasitol. 2013 Feb;99(1):11-8. doi: 10.1645/GE-3183.1. Epub 2012 Aug 27.


The ixodid ticks parasitizing small-bodied nocturnal mouse and dwarf lemurs (Primates, Cheirogaleidae) in Madagascar are poorly documented. At Tsinjoarivo, a high-altitude eastern rain forest, mouse and dwarf lemurs were parasitized by ixodid ticks. At Ranomafana, a montane southeastern rain forest, dwarf lemurs hosted a species of Ixodes, whereas mouse lemurs were parasitized by Haemaphysalis lemuris. Ixodes specimens represent all active stages, and females are morphologically consistent with previous descriptions of Ixodes lemuris females, the only described stage in the literature. Morphological comparisons and genetic analysis using fragments of COI gene confirm that all Ixodes ticks from Tsinjoarivo and Ranomafana forests belong to the same species, i.e., Ixodes lemuris. Thus, we are able to provide descriptions of the previously unknown larva, nymph, and male. Mouse lemurs at both locations were parasitized only by immature stages of I. lemuris (at Tsinjoarivo) or H. lemuris (at Ranomafana), whereas dwarf lemurs were parasitized by all stages of I. lemuris. We suggest that ecological and biogeographical conditions may affect the pattern of tick infestation at Tsinjoarivo and Ranomafana. Additional studies are necessary to understand the tick-host associations of small-bodied nocturnal lemurs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cheirogaleidae / parasitology*
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Ixodes / anatomy & histology
  • Ixodes / classification
  • Ixodes / genetics
  • Ixodidae / anatomy & histology
  • Ixodidae / classification
  • Ixodidae / genetics*
  • Larva / anatomy & histology
  • Larva / classification
  • Larva / genetics
  • Madagascar
  • Male
  • Nymph / anatomy & histology
  • Nymph / classification
  • Nymph / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Primate Diseases / parasitology*
  • Sequence Alignment / veterinary
  • Tick Infestations / parasitology
  • Tick Infestations / veterinary*


  • DNA