Field sampling of the tick Amblyomma variegatum (Acari: Ixodidae) on pastures in Guadeloupe; attraction of CO2 and/or tick pheromones and conditions of use

Exp Appl Acarol. 1997 Feb;21(2):95-108. doi: 10.1023/b:appa.0000031788.88306.77.


Field experiments were conducted in Guadeloupe to evaluate the attraction of different chemicals on a Guadeloupean strain of Amblyomma variegatum. Such tick sampling techniques may help to assess the size of the tick population on pastures before, during and after an attempted tick eradication campaign. CO2 was absolutely necessary to activate ticks, including the larvae. In addition to activation, our data suggested that CO2 itself is attractive for ticks. The reactivity of the ticks varied greatly with the period of the year, the adults being insensitive to CO2 alone or combined with pheromones for a period extending from December to June. For the whole period, the total captures were equal for the males and females, but the males were relatively more sensitive at the beginning of the season of activity (June-July), while the females dominated, but not significantly, for the rest of the period. There was also a gradient of reactivity depending on the distance from the trap; 28% of the ticks were captured at 0.5 m from the CO2 traps and 1.2% at a distance of 6 m. The ticks arrived rapidly at the trap. After 1 h of trapping, 55, 68 and 81% of the active nymphs, males and females, respectively, had reached the trap. Synthetic pheromones (methyl salicylate, o-nitrophenol and nonanoic acid in the proportions 1:2:8) or freshly detached males added to CO2, greatly increased the efficacy of the CO2 traps. Depending on the concentration of the pheromones, the attraction was four to 70 times higher than with CO2 alone. The effect depended on the sex of the ticks, males being attracted in a greater proportion by small amounts of pheromones, while the females were activated by higher doses. From a practical point of view, sampling should be conducted from June to December, with CO2 and high concentrations of pheromones, the traps being in operation for approximately 1 h at least, the area concerned by effluents being located downwind and covering an area of approximately 36 m2.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Carbon Dioxide / pharmacology*
  • Cattle
  • Climate
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Female
  • Guadeloupe
  • Male
  • Parasitology / methods*
  • Pheromones / pharmacology*
  • Poaceae
  • Sampling Studies
  • Ticks* / drug effects
  • Wind


  • Pheromones
  • Carbon Dioxide