Phenology and phylogeny of Hyalomma spp. ticks infesting one-humped camels (Camelus dromedarius) in the Tunisian Saharan bioclimatic zone

Published Date
May 18, 2021
Type
Journal Article
Phenology and phylogeny of Hyalomma spp. ticks infesting one-humped camels (Camelus dromedarius) in the Tunisian Saharan bioclimatic zone
Authors:
Khawla Elati
Faten Bouaicha, Mokhtar Dhibi, Boubaker Ben Smida, Moez Mhadhbi, Isaiah OBARA, Safa Amairia, Mohsen Bouajila, Barbara Rischkowsky, Mourad Rekik, Mohamed Gharbi

In this study, we report the results of a survey of Hyalomma ticks infesting one-humped camels in southern Tunisia. Examinations were conducted every second or third month on 406 camels in Tataouine district from April 2018 to October 2019. A total of 1902 ticks belonging to the genus Hyalomma were collected. The ticks were identified as adult H. impeltatum (41.1%; n = 782), H. dromedarii (32.9%; n = 626), H. excavatum (25.9%; n = 493), and [H. marginatum for a single specimen. Although the camels were infested by ticks throughout the year, the highest overall infestation prevalence was observed in April 2018 (p < 0.01). The overall infestation intensity varied between 2.7 and 7.4 ticks/animal. There were no statistically significant differences in tick infestation prevalence based on age categories of the camels, and the overall infestation prevalence was between 82.7% and 97.4%. Female camels were significantly more infested with ticks (88.3%) than males (65.5%) (p < 0.01). The infestation prevalence of camels varied significantly according to the region where sampling took place (p < 0.01), but no correlations were found with abiotic factors. The preferred attachment sites for adult Hyalomma ticks were the sternum (38.3%; n = 729/1902), around the anus (36.2%; n = 689/1902), udder (18.4%; n = 350/1902), and inner thigh (6.9%; n = 132/1902). Morphological classification of ticks was corroborated by sequencing the cytochrome c oxidase I (Cox1) and 16S rDNA genes, and these sequences were also used to infer phylogenetic relationships. A single H. dromedarii seemed to be a natural hybrid with H. rufipes. More attention should be devoted by the veterinary services to the infestation of camels by ticks.

Citation:
Khawla Elati, Faten Bouaicha, Mokhtar Dhibi, Boubaker Ben Smida, Moez Mhadhbi, Isaiah OBARA, Safa Amairia, Mohsen Bouajila, Barbara Rischkowsky, Mourad Rekik, Mohamed Gharbi. (18/5/2021). Phenology and phylogeny of Hyalomma spp. ticks infesting one-humped camels (Camelus dromedarius) in the Tunisian Saharan bioclimatic zone. Parasite, 28.
Keywords:
ticks
camels
tunisia
hyalomma
phenology
phylogeny