Factors Affecting Dermacentor Tick Abundance at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

Nicholas Andrew Loehlein


Understanding the environmental factors determining risk of exposure to disease vectors is critical for public and veterinary health. Tick populations from the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge using drag sampling from mid-June to early August 2014 in order to determine the effect of temperature, seasonality, and habitat on tick abundance. Two species of ticks were collected, Dermacentor andersoni and Dermacentor variabilis. This study found a significant difference in overall mean abundances between transects (p < 0.01), as well as an approximately 5 fold decrease in mean abundance over the second half of our study (p < 0.01). Changes in tick abundance were significantly different across transects.  The proportion of the two tick species was consistent across all transects except transect 5, which saw disproportionately more D. variabilis (p < 0.05). Tick abundance was not regulated by temperature alone, but did exhibit a seasonal dynamic, decreasing later in the summer. Tick abundance also varied by transect and even within transects themselves.


Dermacentor; Tick; Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

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