The goal of this study was to determine the effect of vertically transmitted Arsenophonus and Rickettsia bacteria on locomotive ability of larvae of three eastern North American tick species: Amblyomma americanum, Dermacentor variabilis, and Ixodes scapularis. We conducted two different experiments on flat or inclined surfaces to measure tick motility. In each experiment, a moderately heated surface was used and placed at a selected incline. The individual's path across the surface was traced for a period of 2 min, or until the larval tick had moved off the surface. Following the microbial identification of Arsenophonus and Rickettsia, a mixed model analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that clutch microbial infection status had a significant effect on tick motility with Rickettsia increasing and Arsenophonus decreasing motility averaged over tick species and inclines. There was also a significant difference in motility among tick species and a highly significant effect of the Species*Incline interaction where Dermacentor had higher motility than Ixodes on the flat surface.
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Vol. 50 • No. 1