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Product title :

Ticks as vectors: taxonomy, biology and ecology

Author(s) : A. Estrada-Peña

Summary :

Ticks are prominent parasites and competent vectors of pathogens that affect both humans and animals. This review outlines and illustrates the main features of the morphology of ticks of the families Ixodidae and Argasidae, and summarises the basic components of their life cycles. It focuses mainly on development processes and mortality among tick populations so as to provide an overview of how they are regulated in nature and how pathogens can be transmitted under such a framework. The effects of the weather on these life cycles are reviewed. The author also examines how landscape structure and biotic factors, such as the presence and abundance of hosts, may shape the density of tick populations. The uncertainty inherent in dealing with the transmission of pathogens by ticks is highlighted; this results from the sometimes complex relationships among the vectors, the climate and the presence and density of host populations. The need to obtain reliable field estimations of such relationships before drawing conclusions about the effects of the isolated components of the system is stressed. A section is devoted to addressing the expected (and not yet totally understood) effects of trends in climate on the spread of ticks, and how these can be analysed and tracked.

Keywords

Biology – Climate – Ecology – Host composition – Landscape composition – Tick.

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