Adults and nymphs of Amblyomma exornatum Koch (Acari: Ixodidae), an exotic African tick of monitor lizards, were collected from a Gray’s monitor lizard, Varanus olivaceus Hallowell, that died in a reptile facility in Alabama. Nine adult ticks were tested by polymerase chain reaction for rickettsial agents. DNA from a novel spotted fever group Rickettsia was amplified and sequenced from one of the nine ticks. The novel Rickettsia was most similar to “Rickettsia anan,” which is associated with Amblyomma from Asia. The detection of a spotted fever group Rickettsia in exotic ticks emphasizes the potential threat posed by the importation and propagation of exotic animals in the United States.
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Vol. 43 • No. 5