Ixodes scapularis (Black-legged Tick) has expanded its range in recent decades. To establish baseline data on the abundance of the Black-legged Tick and Borrelia burgdorferi (the causative agent of Lyme disease) at the edge of a putative range expansion, we collected 1398 ticks from five locations along the Connecticut River in Vermont. Collection locations were approximately evenly distributed between the villages of Ascutney and Guildhall. Relative abundance and distribution by species varied across sites. Black-legged Ticks dominated our collections (n = 1348, 96%), followed by Haemaphysalis leporispalustris (Rabbit Tick; n = 45, 3%), and Dermacentor variabilis (American Dog Tick; n = 5, <1%). Black-legged Tick abundance ranged from 6198 ticks per survey hectare (all life stages combined) at the Thetford site to zero at the Guildhall site. There was little to no overlap of tick species across sites. Phenology of Black-legged Ticks matched published information from other regions of the northeastern USA. Prevalence of B. burgdorferi in adult Black-legged Ticks was 8.9% (n = 112).
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Vol. 20 • No. 1