Habitat and occurrence of ixodid ticks in the Liguria region, northwest Italy

Exp Appl Acarol. 2014;64(1):121-35. doi: 10.1007/s10493-014-9794-y. Epub 2014 Mar 30.

Abstract

Questing ticks were collected during monthly dragging sessions (March-August 2011) in three provinces of the Liguria region, north-western Italy, to evaluate the species occurrence, spatial distribution and relative abundance. A total of 1,464 specimens were collected in 94 dragging sites. Ixodes ricinus was the most abundant species (81.3 % of collected ticks), followed by Haemaphysalis punctata (10.9 %), Dermacentor marginatus (5.5 %), Ixodes frontalis (1.3 %), and Rhipicephalus spp. (0.9 %). Ixodes frontalis is reported for the first time in Liguria. An aggregation of I. ricinus positive sites was observed in inland areas characterized by dense forests dominated by deciduous trees (Castanetum and Fagetum phytoclimatic zones), especially in the west of the region where the differences in the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) were higher between inland and coastal sites. Random-effect logistic regression was used to model the associations of NDVI and season with the probability of finding host-seeking I. ricinus nymphs [corrected]. The NDVI was a good predictor of I. ricinus nymphs abundance, and confirmed its utility in discriminating habitat suitability for this vector in north-western coastal Italy, where dry habitat conditions may limit the distribution of this species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem*
  • Italy
  • Ixodidae / classification*
  • Population Density