During November 2010, three ticks were collected from three dogs living in the rural area of Arica, northern Chile. Morphological analyses of the ticks in the laboratory revealed that they were most similar to Amblyomma maculatum Koch and Amblyomma triste Koch. However, because of unique metatarsal spurs, neither of the Chilean specimens could be assigned with certainty to A. maculatum or A. triste, based on external morphology. The mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene partial sequences obtained from two Chilean specimens were 99.5% identical to A. triste from Uruguay, and 99.0% identical to A. maculatum from the United States. Through phylogenetic analysis inferred from partial 16S rBNA sequences, the Chilean specimens were classified as A. triste. Molecular analyses also showed that one of the three Chilean ticks was infected by Candidatus ‘Rickettsia andeanae’. These findings extend the geographical distribution of A. triste to Chile, where no tick-associated rickettsia had been reported previously.
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Vol. 49 • No. 1