The spatial heterogeneity of questing Ixodes ricinus (L.) (Acari: Ixodidae) within endemic areas in Great Britain is well established. Their presence is acutely responsive to blood host availability and their ability to maintain water balance, which are in turn governed by a variety of ecological and environmental factors. This article details the findings of a 3-yr study on the Gower peninsula, south Wales, which investigated the contribution of such factors (both ground- and geographic information systems [GIS]-derived) for predicting the presence of questing I. ricinus (Qp), at a local scale. Statistically significant univariate associations were found between Qp and calcareous/ neutral grassland and heathland habitats, particularly those grazed by livestock, and various factors that intuitively promote tick survival. For example, topographical features, such as certain aspects, that reduce exposure to cold northerly winds and the hot midday sun, favored Qp. Similarly, positive associations were found with substrata composed of less permeable soil types and less permeable superficial/bedrock geologies that promote a moist microhabitat and reduce the likelihood of desiccation. Qp was also higher in areas of high soil moisture. This study highlighted a number of GIS-derived data sets that could be applied in the development of local and national predictive maps for I. ricinus in Great Britain. An understanding of the influence of these factors on questing I. ricinus can aid targeted tick control programs and help to educate the public, and those occupationally exposed, in understanding likely I. ricinus prolific areas within an I. ricinus endemic region.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Journal of Medical Entomology|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2008|
- Ixodes ricinus
- Risk mapping