Ixodes lividus (Koch, 1844) ticks are specific parasites of the sand martin Riparia riparia (L.). The distribution range of I. lividus covers Europe (being absent from the Mediterranean area) and Asia. However, until now there have been no reports on the presence of this tick in Lithuania. A total of 47 nests were collected in three different colonies of sand martins in the central part of Lithuania and 46.8% of them were infested with ticks. In total, 2,770 ticks were found and identified as I. lividus based on morphological characteristics. Larvae were the predominant stage, representing 99.6% of all collected ticks. The taxonomic identification of I. lividus was confirmed by sequence analysis of the tick mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene. Phylogenetic analysis of 16S rRNA sequences indicates six genotypes of I. lividus transported by the sand martin in the Baltic region. The detection of genotypes like those reported from other European regions pointed to the importance of avian migratory connections, which are associated with the dispersal of I. lividus and the related tick-borne pathogens in the Baltic region. This study represents the first record of I. lividus from sand martin nests in Lithuania.
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Vol. 42 • No. 2