Conspecificity of the ticks Ixodes scapularis and I. dammini (Acari: Ixodidae)

J Med Entomol. 1993 Jan;30(1):54-63. doi: 10.1093/jmedent/30.1.54.


Reciprocal crosses between Ixodes dammini Spielman, Clifford, Piesman & Corwin from Massachusetts and Ixodes scapularis Say from Georgia produced offspring through the F3 generation when the experiment was discontinued. Reciprocal I. dammini x Ixodes pacificus Cooley & Kohls (California) and I. scapularis x I. pacificus crosses produced F1 progeny; however, all progeny were sterile. Assortative mating experiments between I. dammini and I. scapularis indicated that males and females of both species mated with the opposite sex of heterospecific or conspecific ticks when there was a choice. Conventional discriminant analysis of morphometric measurements of ticks from Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, and two populations of F1 hybrids indicated that there were recognizable differences. However, size-free (sheared) discriminant analysis indicated that these differences were largely size-dependent, with much overlap of the four eastern and two hybrid populations but no overlap with I. pacificus from California. Analysis of chromosomes (morphology and C band) indicated no differences between the Georgia and Massachusetts populations but showed a difference between them and the California population of I. pacificus. Analysis of isozymes showed that the genetic identity value for the Georgia and Massachusetts populations was within the normal range for conspecific populations, whereas the California population indicated congeneric but not conspecific relatedness to the Georgia and Massachusetts populations. Life cycle data collected under similar laboratory conditions showed no differences in length of feeding and molting periods among Georgia, Massachusetts, and California populations. These data and results of the work of other authors on tick host preferences and vector competence indicate that I. dammini is not a valid species separate from I. scapularis. Because the name Ixodes scapularis Say, 1821, has priority over the name Ixodes dammini Spielman, Clifford, Piesman & Corwin, 1979, I. dammini is relegated to a junior subjective synonym of I. scapularis (based on Article 23 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arachnid Vectors / classification*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Female
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Isoenzymes / analysis
  • Lyme Disease / transmission
  • Male
  • Ticks / classification*


  • Isoenzymes