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First report of a blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis Say (Acari: Ixodidae), parasitizing a raptor in Canada

Systematic & Applied Acarology 22(2): 208–216 (2017)



We document the first report of a blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis Say, parasitizing an American Kestrel, Falco sparverius Linnaeus (Falconiformes: Falconidae), in Canada. A fully engorged I. scapularis nymph was collected from the base of the tongue of an American Kestrel nestling recovered at Mirabel, Québec. This nestling had recently fledged the nest, and was exposed to I. scapularis immatures that were host-seeking in the surrounding low-level vegetation. DNA barcoding was used to confirm the identification of the tick. Primers of the flagellin (fla) gene were employed to determine whether the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) Johnson, Schmid, Hyde, Steigerwalt & Brenner, was present in the I. scapularis nymph; the tick was negative. We provide the first report of I. scapularis parasitizing a raptor in Canada and, likewise, the first account of this tick species attached to the oral cavity of a bird. Moreover, this bird parasitism is the first documentation of a tick on a falconid bird in Canada.

Key words: American Kestrel; Falco sparverius; blacklegged tick; Ixodes scapularis; raptor; bird parasitism; DNA barcoding; Canada

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