Climate and vegetation in Spain vary from north to south, affecting tick distribution and consequently the presence of tick-borne diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate throughout a 2-yr study the distribution of the different exophilic questing tick species present in 18 areas: eight located in central and 10 in northern Spain. The same methodology was used in both areas, sampling vegetation on a monthly basis by blanket dragging for 20- to 30-min intervals. A total of 12 species belonging to the genera Ixodes, Haemaphysalis, Rhipicephalus, Dermacentor, and Hyalomma was identified. Differences in species distribution and prevalence were dramatically different. The most frequent and abundant species in northern Spain were Ixodes ricinus (67% of adult ticks) and Haemaphysalis punctata (8%), whereas Hyalomma lusitanicum (86%) and Dermacentor marginatus (12%) were the most abundant in central Spain. There were important differences in the monthly seasonal patterns for the different tick species. These results highlight important differences in tick distribution in neighboring areas and underline the need for ongoing surveillance programs to monitor tick population dynamics and the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens.
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Vol. 48 • No. 1