The capacity of ticks to transmit a fungus was examined by analyzing tick saliva, host tissue from feeding sites, and host blood for presence of Scopulariopsis brevicaulis (Sacc.) Bainier, an internal mycosymbiont of the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis (Say), and lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (L.). Although >85% of ticks were infected with S. brevicaulis, conidia presence was low (0–5% of samples) in microscopic observations and mycological culturing of saliva expressed from larvae, nymphs, and adults. Additionally, the recovery of S. brevicaulis from blood and tissue feeding sites from a rabbit where S. brevicaulis-positive adult ticks had attached and fed was not increased compared with control tissue where no feeding occurred, indicating that transmission does not occur by the blood-feeding route. Tick mouthparts were found to contain S. brevicaulis in addition to Penicillium glabrum (Wehmer) Westling, but these agents were sparse in isolations from the feeding sites, which makes it unlikely that ticks act frequently as a mechanical fungal vector.
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