Ixodid ticks in the Western Ukraine
During the 2018–2019 years, 2884 ticks were collected from five species of animals, including pets (dogs and cats), cattle (cows and horses) and wildlife (wild boar) in Khmelnytsky, Chernivtsi and Vinnytsia regions. Ixodid ticks were identified as: D. reticulatus (2370; 82.2 % of all collected ticks), I. ricinus 510 (17.7 %) and 4 of I. hexagonus (0.1 %) from cats. Adult D. reticulatus (77 %) and I. ricinus (23 %) were detected in dogs. Ixodid ticks collected from horses were D. reticulatus (95 %) and I. ricinus (5 %), and from cows – D. reticulatus (93 %) and I. ricinus (7 %). I. ricinus was the predominant tick collected from cats (58 %). 100 % of D. reticulatus was collected from wild boars. Most ticks were collected during the spring tick activity between March and May. However, D. reticulatus was found on animals every month, including the winter. D. reticulatus males accounted for the overwhelming majority of ticks collected in winter (68 % for dogs, 84 % for wild boars). In all other seasons D. reticulatus females prevailed – 66 % in dogs, 77 % in horses and 71 % in cattle, in all areas. In addition, 4 females of I. hexagonus were removed from the cat in June. The average number of ticks per animal was about three ticks among dogs, two in cats, fourteen in cattle, seven in horses and seven in wild boars. Particularly high amount of D. reticulatus was recorded on cattle and horses in the spring. The relatively high amount of I. ricinus was observed in cats in the spring months. To evaluate the natural biocenoses of the three ticks species in the study areas, the ticks were collected using a flag in urban parks and rural areas. Two types of ticks were found in open areas. The density of adult D. reticulatus ticks in the open areas was relatively high, above 20 mites/1000 m2 in most places. The density of adult ticks of I. ricinus was significantly lower in the typical habitat (forests), within 3 mites/1000 m2, several times lower than the density of D. reticulatus in the typical habitat. Thus, in the western regions of Ukraine, two species of I. ricinus and D. reticulatus mites are widespread in natural biocenoses, as well as in farm and domestic animals, D. reticulatus is the dominant species. This type of tick is active throughout the year, so constant preventive treatment of animals is required to prevent infection with tick-borne diseases.
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