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Title: Egg hatching success is influenced by the time of thermal stress in four hard tick species

Ticks are blood-feeding arthropods responsible for the transmission of disease-causing pathogens to a wide range of vertebrate hosts, including livestock and humans. Tick-borne diseases have been implicated in significant economic losses to livestock production, and this threat will increase as these obligate parasites widen their geographical ranges. Similar to other ectotherms, thermal stress due to changing global temperatures has been shown to influence tick survival and distribution. However, studies on the influence of extreme temperatures in ticks have focused on advanced, mobile stages, ignoring immobile stages that cannot move to more favorable microhabitats. In this study, low- and high-temperature regimens were assessed in relation to egg viability for hard tick species—Amblyomma maculatum (Gulf Coast tick), Ixodes scapularis (black-legged tick), Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick), and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Brown dog tick). Tick eggs exposed early in development (freshly laid during early embryo development) were significantly more susceptible to thermal stress when compared with those exposed later in development (late embryo development denoted by a fecal spot). Based on our studies, differences in egg hatching success among treatments were greater than in hatching success when comparing species. Lastly, there was evidence of extreme thermal exposure significantly altering the hatching times of tick eggs for specific treatments. These results provide insights into the critical period for tick egg viability in relation to thermal exposure and tick survival associated with stress and climate change.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Medical Entomology
Medium: X Size: p. 110-120
["p. 110-120"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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