2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

Dermacentor variabilis Preliminary Overwintering Study
Katherine E. Ward
Dr. Stephanie A. Fore, Faculty Mentor

Larval Dermacentor variabilis ticks have been noted to be active off host in late fall and found on mice in early spring. It is unknown if larvae can survive the winter without a blood meal. To develop methods to test this question, an overwintering experiment beginning in November of 2010 was conducted in a forested area in Kirksville, Missouri. Approximately 100 unfed larval ticks were placed in each of 27 mesh packets. Three packets were buried beneath the leaf litter at each of nine sites. Every two weeks, three packets were removed at random from different sites and brought to the lab for observation. The number of ticks both alive and dead was recorded. Preliminary data suggest that approximately 70% of larval ticks can be found alive at each collection interval. These data support the hypothesis that unfed larval D. variabilis are capable of overwintering in northern Missouri.

Keywords: ticks, Dermacentor variabilis, overwintering, larvae

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Poster

Session: 3-8
Location: Georgian Room - SUB
Time: 4:30

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