Amblyomma dissimile Koch (Acari: Ixodidae) parasitizes bird captured in Canada

Systematic & Applied Acarology 20(8): 854–860 (2015)

John D. Scott, Lance A. Durden

Abstract

We document Amblyomma dissimile Koch (Acari: Ixodidae) parasitizing a bird in Canada. A partially engorged A. dissimile nymph was collected from a Veery, Catharus fuscescens (Stephens) (Passeriformes: Turdidae), in Toronto, Ontario during spring migration. This constitutes the first authentic host record of A. dissimile on a bird in North America and, likewise, on a Veery, plus a new distributional record in Canada. Veeries could theoretically transport A. dissimile from as far south as southeastern Brazil, a distance of over 7,500 km. Experimentally, A. dissimile can transmit Ehrlichia ruminantium (Ricksettiales), which causes heartwater, a severe disease of cattle and other ungulates. Since a fully engorged A. dissimile nymph could likely molt during the summer in northern latitudes, this tick species could potentially parasitize local reptiles, people or ungulates, and cause autochtonous disease. Because A. dissimile is known to harbor rickettsiae in South America and is a laboratory vector of E. ruminantium, the medical and veterinary profession must be vigilant that A. dissimile may pose a health risk.

Key words: Amblyomma dissimile, bird, avian host, bird parasitism, Canada, North America.

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