2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

What's That Smell?: Chemoattraction in the American Dog Tick
Tad A. Dallas♦
Dr. Stephanie Fore, Dr. Laura Fielden, and Dr. Hyun-Joo Kim, Faculty Mentors

Ticks differentially parasitize specific hosts over others within a population, resulting in differential pathogen transmission and selective predation by predators. Active parasite choice is an often overlooked factor affecting specificity between host and parasite. To test the host specific relationship between Dermacentor variabilis and Peromyscus leucopus, a Y-tube olfactometer was constructed. Two potential factors influencing tick choice were host body mass and sex. Body mass was defined as large (> 24g) or small (< 21g). All possible combinations of sex and body mass were run in trials lasting 15 minutes. Each combination had 5 animal pairs, each run for 4 replicate trials. A loglinear model based on a 2x2 contingency table found no significant difference in tick attraction based on body mass ( P = 0.706), sex ( P = 0.258) and no interaction between sex and body mass ( P = 1.0). It is likely that active tick choice is not a significant contributor to sex and mass biased parasitism seen in field populations.

Keywords: chemoattraction, host specificity, olfactometer, Dermacentor variabilis , Peromyscus leucopus

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 47-2
Location: MG 2001
Time: 1:30

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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