Amblyomma maculatum Koch is the primary vector in the United States for Rickettsia parkeri, an emerging human pathogen, as well as Hepatozoon americanum, a protozoan causing disease in canines. We evaluated the host preference and feeding success of immature A. maculatum for 3 potential host species, the Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis Voigt), the bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus Linnaeus), and the hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus Say and Ord). To determine host preference, ticks were given an option of two different hosts at a time. No ticks fed on anoles in the host preference study and no significant difference in preference could be determined for rats compared with quail. In a separate experiment to study feeding success, we placed ticks directly onto 10 individual animals of these same species. No ticks fed on anoles. Larvae did not statistically differ in number of days to engorge when feeding on rats (5.7 d) compared with quail (5.6 d). Nymphs, however, took significantly longer to engorge on rats (8.2 d) than on quail (7 d). Engorged larvae from rats and quail were not statistically different in weight, whereas nymphs that engorged on rats were significantly heavier (15.8 mg) than those from quail (13.2 mg). Engorged larvae and nymphs did not significantly differ in their molting success between hosts. Results of this study suggest that anoles were not good hosts for immature stages of A. maculatum. No clear host preference was identified for quail or cotton rats, although differences in time-to-engorgement and engorged specimen weights were noted.
Journal of Entomological Science
Vol. 47 • No. 3
Vol. 47 • No. 3