The Distribution, Seasonal Abundance, and Environmental Factors Contributing to the Presence of the Asian Longhorned Tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis, Acari: Ixodidae) in Central Appalachian Virginia


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Oxford University Press


Over the past decade, Haemaphysalis longicornis, the Asian longhorned tick, has undergone a geographic range expansion in the United States, from its historical range in east Asia. This tick has been characterized by its frequent parasitism of livestock, an ability to reproduce through parthenogenesis, and its ability to transmit a variety of vector-borne pathogens to livestock, wildlife, and human hosts in its native geographic range. Thus far in the United States, 17 states have reported H. longicornis populations, including 38 counties in Virginia. These numbers come from presence-absence reports provided to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but little has been reported about this ticks' seasonality in Virginia or its habitat preferences. Our current study detected H. longicornis populations in seven of the nine surveyed counties in Virginia. Haemaphysalis longicornis were observed in multiple habitat types including mixed hardwood forests and pastures, with abundant H. longicornis populations detected at one particular pasture site in Wythe County. This study also attempted to investigate environmental conditions that may be of importance in predicting tick presence likelihood. While sample size limited the scope of these efforts, habitat type and climatic metrics were found to be important indicators of H. longicornis collection success and abundance for both the nymphal and larval life stages. This current study reports useful surveillance data for monitoring these tick populations as they become established in the western half of Virginia and provides insight into their current distribution and maintenance over a large study region.



Asian longhorned tick, Virginia, surveillance, PHYLOGENY, IXODOIDEA, CHINA