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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Genetic Relationship Between Hard Ticks (Ixodidae) Infesting Cattle from Select Areas of a Wildlife-Livestock Interface Ecosystem at Mikumi National Park, Tanzania

Damian, Donath; Damas, Modester; Wensman, Jonas Johansson; Berg, Mikael


Background: There has recently been a substantial increase in the number of tick species and tick-borne infectious agents in Tanzania. Owing to their impact on human, livestock, and wild animal health, increased knowledge of ticks is needed. So far, no published data on the genetic relationship between hard tick (Ixodidae) sequences collected from cattle are available in Tanzania.Methods: Ticks from cattle in the wards, which lie at the border of Mikumi National Park, were collected in the dry season, November to December 2019. Morphological identification of ticks was initially performed at the genus level. To identify ticks at the species level, molecular analysis based on the 16S rRNA gene was performed. Evolutionary relationships and genetic distances between ticks were determined using MaximumLikelihood and Kimura 2-parameter methods, respectively.Results: Based on morphology, two genera (Rhipicephalus and Hyalomma) were identified in the 630 adult ticks collected from a total of 252 cattle. Six species (Rhipicephalus microplus, Rhipicephalus evertsi, Hyalomma marginatum, Hyalomma rufipes, Hyalomma truncatum, and Hyalomma turanicum) were confirmed by BLASTn and phylogenetic analyses. Considerable mean and pairwise genetic distances were observed for Rhipicephalus and Hyalomma genera.Conclusion: The presence of different phylogenetic clusters and considerable mean and pairwise genetic distances observed reflect possible biological diversity of hard ticks present in the study area. Considering the value of the cattle in the livelihoods and economies of people and the country, the outcomes of this study will be useful in planning integrated control strategies for ticks and tick-borne diseases in Tanzania.


hard ticks; genetic distance; phylogeny; Hyalomma; Rhipicephalus; wildlife-livestock interface; Mikumi National Park

Published in

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
2021, Volume: 21, number: 3, pages: 191-199