Background. Ixodid tick Ixodes ricinus – vector of transmissible diseases of humans and animals (borreliosis, babesiosis of cattle, West Nile fever, and viral tickborne encephalitis). The hosts for the imago are large mammals and birds, and the larvae and nymphs of the tick parasitize on various small vertebrates. One of the common hosts of the young tick is the true lizard from the family Lacertidae. The purpose of the work is to evaluate the parasitic press of the European forest tick on the true lizards (Darevskia pontica and D. saxicola) in the Psebay Regional Reserve. The objectives are to determine the occurrence of ticks in populations of rock lizards, to identify the abundance of ticks on lizards and to characterize the localization of ticks.
Materials and methods. The lizards were caught in the III decade of July 2017 on the spurs of the Bambak ridge in the vicinity of Nikitino Settlement (Mostovskiy district, Krasnodar region). The occurrence, abundance, and localization of ticks were determined. A total of 20 individuals of D. pontica (13 females, 4 males, and 3 yearlings) and 115 D. saxicola (52 females, 32 males, 15 subadults, and 16 yearlings) were examined.
Results. Among lizards D. pontica the most infected ticks were adult females (54 %). In adult males of this species, only one individual was affected (25 %). On one-year-old lizards Ixodes ticks were not found. In D. saxicola, the most infected by ticks were adult males (84,4 %). Among adult females, a slightly smaller proportion of individuals were affected (71,2 %). As for subadult lizards, ectoparasites of this species were found on 60 % of the studied animals. The lowest occurrence of ticks was noted (25 %) on year-old lizards. In the group of D. pontica, 66 % of all ticks were located around the forelimbs. The sides of these lizards were also relatively strongly affected (26 % of all ticks found). The least ticks were noted on the neck (8 %). At D. saxicola ticks were also found mainly around the forelimbs (56,3 %). The neck (25,3 % of all mites found) and sides (18,2 %) of lizards were also relatively strongly affected. The least parasites were attached on the belly (0,2 %).
Conclusions. Lizards play an important role in the food of larval stages of the Ixodid tick I. ricinus in the Psebay Regional Reserve. The larvae and nymphs affect a significant part of lizards in both examined species (40 % – at D. pontica, 67 % – D. saxicola). Almost all of the affected lizards were adults. The ticks were localized mainly around the forelimbs, on the sides and neck of lizards.
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