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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Morphological and molecular identification of ixodid tick species (Acari: Ixodidae) infesting cattle in Uganda

Balinandi, Stephen; Chitimia-Dobler, Lidia; Grandi, Giulio; Nakayiki, Teddy; Kabasa, William; Bbira, Johnson; Lutwama, Julius J.; Bakkes, Deon K.; Malmberg, Maja; Mugisha, Lawrence


In Uganda, the role of ticks in zoonotic disease transmission is not well described, partly, due to limited available information on tick diversity. This study aimed to identify the tick species that infest cattle. Between September and November 2017, ticks (n = 4362) were collected from 5 districts across Uganda (Kasese, Hoima, Gulu, Soroti, and Moroto) and identified morphologically at Uganda Virus Research Institute. Morphological and genetic validation was performed in Germany on representative identified specimens and on all unidentified ticks. Ticks were belonging to 15 species: 8Rhipicephalusspecies (Rhipicephalus appendiculatus,Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi,Rhipicephalus microplus,Rhipicephalus decoloratus,Rhipicephalus afranicus,Rhipicephalus pulchellus,Rhipicephalus simus, andRhipicephalus sanguineustropical lineage); 5Amblyommaspecies (Amblyomma lepidum,Amblyomma variegatum,Amblyomma cohaerens,Amblyomma gemma, andAmblyomma paulopunctatum); and 2Hyalommaspecies (Hyalomma rufipesandHyalomma truncatum). The most common species wereR. appendiculatus(51.8%),A. lepidum(21.0%),A. variegatum(14.3%),R. evertsi evertsi(8.2%), andR. decoloratus(2.4%). R. afranicusis a new species recently described in South Africa and we report its presence in Uganda for the first time. The sequences ofR. afranicuswere 2.4% divergent from those obtained in Southern Africa. We confirm the presence of the invasiveR. microplusin two districts (Soroti and Gulu). Species diversity was highest in Moroto district (p = 0.004) and geographical predominance by specific ticks was observed (p = 0.001). The study expands the knowledge on tick fauna in Uganda and demonstrates that multiple tick species with potential to transmit several tick-borne diseases including zoonotic pathogens are infesting cattle.


Uganda; Cattle; Ixodid ticks; Morphology; 16S sequencing; Species distribution

Published in

Parasitology Research
2020, volume: 119, number: 8, pages: 2411-2420
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Balinandi, Stephen
Uganda Virus Res Inst
Chitimia-Dobler, Lidia
Bundeswehr Inst Microbiol
Nakayiki, Teddy
Uganda Virus Res Inst
Kabasa, William
Makerere Univ
Bbira, Johnson
Makerere Univ
Lutwama, Julius J.
Uganda Virus Res Inst
Bakkes, Deon K.
Stellenbosch Univ
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics
Mugisha, Lawrence
Makerere Univ

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science

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