The Gulf Coast tick, Amblyomma maculatum Koch (Acari: Ixodidae), is a unique univoltine ectoparasite of seven vertebrate host classes in the Western Hemisphere that is increasingly recognized as a pest of livestock and wildlife, a vector of pathogens to humans and canines, and a putative vector of Ehrlichia ruminantium, the causal agent of heartwater, a fatal foreign animal disease of ruminants resident in the Caribbean. This review assembles current and historical literature encompassing the biology, ecology, and zoogeography of this tick and provides new assessments of changes in cyclical population distribution, habitat associations, host utilization, seasonal phenology, and life history. These assessments are pertinent to the emergence of A. maculatum as a vector of veterinary and medical importance, and its pest management on livestock and other animals.
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Vol. 47 • No. 5