Ticks transmit a greater variety of pathogens to mammals than any other blood-sucking arthropod vector, predisposing susceptible individuals to infection with clinical symptoms. A study was conducted to determine the range of haemoparasites in ticks that can pose a health risk to susceptible animals in the Ngorongoro Crater. Questing ticks were collected randomly in crater grassland. Amblyomma tick species were collected under moribund grass cover and on hosts; one-host and two-host Rhipicephalus tick species were collected on immobilized wild animals. Pools of five ticks were prepared according to species and source and processed for nucleic acid extraction. Haemoparasite DNA was amplified by PCR for Anaplasma species (n = 118), Babesla species (n = 102) and Theileria species (n = 115). Eleven tick species were identified, eight of which were PCR positive for one or more haemoparasites. Sequence analyses for rRNA gene fragments detected Anaplasma bovis, Babesia equi, Theileria buffeli and Theileria parva. Therefore, susceptible livestock and endangered wildlife species in crater grassland are at risk of contracting related diseases.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1