Ambient temperature can influence tick development time, and can potentially affect tick interactions with pathogens and with vertebrate hosts. We studied the effect of ambient temperature on duration of attachment of larval blacklegged ticks, Ixodes scapularis Say, to eastern fence lizards, Sceloporus undulatus (Bose & Daudin). Feeding periods of larvae that attached to lizards under preferred temperature conditions for the lizards (WARM treatment: temperatures averaged 36.6°C at the top of the cage and 25.8°C at the bottom, allowing behavioral thermoregulation) were shorter than for larvae on lizards held under cool conditions (COOL treatment temperatures averaged 28.4°C at top of cage and 24.9°C at the bottom). The lizards were infested with larvae four times at roughly monthly intervals. Larval numbers successfully engorging and dropping declined and feeding period was longer after the first infestation.
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Vol. 51 • No. 6