Diversity and distribution of ticks in Niigata prefecture, Japan (2016-2018): Changes since 1950

Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2021 May;12(3):101683. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2021.101683. Epub 2021 Feb 2.


We performed tick surveys in all regions (Kaetsu, Chuetsu, Joetsu, and Sado) of the Niigata prefecture, Japan. A total of 105 field surveys were done from 2016 to 2018 in 41 sites, from north to south, in the prefecture. All 4806 ticks collected were identified and classified by species, sex, and developmental stage. Twelve species were recorded: Dermacentor taiwanensis, Haemaphysalis flava, Haemaphysalis hystricis, Haemaphysalis japonica, Haemaphysalis longicornis, Haemaphysalis megaspinosa, Ixodes ovatus, Ixodes nipponensis, Ixodes persulcatus, Ixodes monospinosus, Ixodes columnae, and Ixodes turdus. The major tick species in Niigata prefecture were H. flava, H. longicornis, and I. ovatus and they comprised 93.4% of all samples. These three species have one generation per year. Climatic and anthropogenic factors may be involved in the substantial change of the endemic species composition from a previous tick survey (1959) in the Niigata prefecture. These factors include increasing temperatures, introduction of new hosts such as the wild boar, highway construction, and a rural exodus facilitating animal migration and reproduction. Tick hosts suitable for the transmission of Japanese spotted fever, Lyme borreliosis, and SFTS occur in Niigata prefecture. Heightened awareness of these three tick-borne diseases is needed for preparation and disease prevention.

Keywords: Climate change; Habitat; Migration; Rural flight; Species range; Tick-Borne disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Distribution*
  • Animals
  • Biodiversity*
  • Female
  • Ixodidae / growth & development
  • Ixodidae / physiology*
  • Japan
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Larva / physiology
  • Male
  • Nymph / growth & development
  • Nymph / physiology
  • Seasons