Poster Presentation 64th International Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association 2015

Tick Diversity in Wild Lowland Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) in the Atlantic Forest and Pantanal Biomes, Brazil (#183)

Renata Carolina Fernandes Santos 1 2 , Thiago Fernandes Martins 3 , Emília Patrícia Medici 1 2 4 , Marcelo Labruna 3
  1. IPÊ - Institute for Ecological Research, Nazaré Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil
  2. IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG), Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
  3. Departamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva e Saúde Animal (VPS), Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo (FMVZ-USP), São Paulo, Brazil
  4. Escola Superior de Conservação Ambiental e Sustentabilidade (ESCAS/IPÊ), Nazaré Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil

The lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris) has been recognized as a very important host for several native tick species in Brazil. The goal of this study was to evaluate the diversity of ticks in wild tapirs considering the previous knowledge about other potential host species (wild and domestic). Tapirs were captured and sampled in two Brazilian biomes: Atlantic Forest - AF (22º16''S; 52º05'W) and Pantanal - PA (19º20''S; 55º43'W). Fourteen tapirs were sampled in the AF site (2006-2008), whereas 89 samples (45 tapirs + 44 recaptures) were analyzed in the PA site (2008-2014). Collected ticks were kept alive and taxonomically identified based on current literature. Overall, 7 different tick species were found on tapirs (five in the AF and four in the PA). Tick species (and potential hosts besides tapirs) in the AF site were Amblyomma sculptum previous synonym of Amblyomma cajennense (associated with several wild and domestic species) (33♂, 37♀, 56 nymphs); Amblyomma coelebs (only found in tapirs) (34♂, 36♀, 7 nymphs); Amblyomma brasiliense (strongly associated with peccaries) (6♂, 24♀, 2 nymphs); Amblyomma ovale (strongly associated with wild and domestic carnivores) (1♂, 2♀); Amblyomma sp.(3 larvae); and Haemaphysalis juxtakochi (strongly associated with cervids) (1♀). In the PA site, four tick species were found: Amblyomma sculptum (268♂, 824♀, 410 nymphs); Amblyomma parvum (associated with several wild and domestic species) (2♂, 13♀); Amblyomma ovale (2♂, 7♀); Amblyomma sp.(15 larvae); and Rhipicephalus microplus (strongly associated with cattle) (2♂, 1♀, 1 nymph). In wild animals, the relationship between ectoparasites and their hosts can be better understood when analyzed through an ecological perspective, which provides important insights about interactions between wild and domestic species in different habitat types. This is also important considering that ticks are widely recognized as vectors of a great diversity of pathogens to animals and humans.