Body size and habitat as determinants of tick infestations of wild ungulates in South Africa

The purpose of the present work was to test the hypothesis that the intensity of tick infestation on South African wild ungulates is proportional to surface area of the host (body weight 0.67} and to assess the role of habitat preference on the intensity of infestations. The results support previous suggestions that larger ungulates are more important hosts for adult ticks, however, the intensity of infestation of nymphs and larvae is proportional to the surface area of the host. Grazers had a lower intensity of infestation than browsers and intermediate feeders. The difference was most pronounced in the 30 to 150 kg weight range within which the grazers were predominantly short-grass grazers which utilize habitat less suitable for ticks. These patterns appeared to be consistent within the three major collection areas, Kruger National Park, KwaZulu-Natal and Mountain Zebra National Park.

Publish DateJuly 20, 2020
Last UpdatedJanuary 26, 2021
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