May 1, 1995

Diel activity of nymphal Dermacentor occidentalis and Ixodes pacificus (Acari: Ixodidae) in relation to meteorological factors and host activity periods

Journal of Medical Entomology
R S LaneG B Schoeler


Relation of diel activity and questing behavior of nymphal Dermacentor occidentalis Marx and Ixodes pacificus Cooley & Kohls to meteorological factors was investigated in a shaded versus a sun-exposed outdoor arena. Oak-woodland soil covered partially with leaf litter and small rocks, and 24 vertically oriented grass stems 2.5, 5.0, 10.0, and 20.0 cm tall were provided as substrate and potential questing sites. Tick activity and weather conditions were monitored bihourly during 15 diel (24-h) experiments (D. occidentalis, 8; I. pacificus, 7). In shade, D. occidentalis was active throughout the day, but questing occurred mainly at night and in the morning on grass stems or atop soil when temperatures were cool and relative humidities high. Ticks seemed to prefer to quest at heights between approximately 4 and 10 cm. The time of day and height at which D. occidentalis quested on grass stems coincided with the activity periods and size of its lagomorph and rodent hosts. Low percentages (< or = 15%) of I. pacificus nymphs (n = 100 or 200) were active atop soil or leaf litter at night or sporadically throughout the day, but none ascended grass stems. This finding was reconfirmed by monitoring diurnal behavior of nymphs in an outdoor...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Host-Parasite Interactions
Meteorological Concepts
Circadian Rhythms
Feeding Patterns

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