Ticks (Metastigmata: Ixodidae) parasitizing songbirds in Iran with new host records

Document Type : Research articles


1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran

3 Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


The present study investigates the occurrence and the identification of tick species infesting wild songbirds in northern Iran. Totally, 342 songbirds belonging to 15 families and 37 species were captured and examined for tick infestation during 2015-2016. Of which, 70 specimens were infestedby ticks (infestation rate = 20.46%). Three tick species detached from examined birds and identified as follow: Ixodes ricinus (Linnaeus, 1758), Hyalomma sp., and Rhipicephalus sp. The most common one was I. ricinus. In all infected birds, collected ticks were in immature stages and the number of specimens of the larval stage was more than in the nymphal stage, and no adult tick was found. Following songbirds were introduced as new hosts: Petronia petronia (Linnaeus, 1766), Gymnoris xanthocollis (Burton, E, 1838), Hippolais pallida (Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833), Emberiza calandra Linnaeus, 1758, Acridotheres tristis (Linnaeus, 1766), Oenanthe picata (Blyth, 1847), O. pleschanka (Lepechin, 1770), Rhodospiza obsoleta (Lichtenstein, MHC, 1823), Serinus pusillus (Pallas, 1811), and Ficedula parva (Bechstein, 1792) for I. ricinus. The overall mean intensity and mean abundance were 4.6 and 0.95, respectively. The highest mean intensity, 12.18 ticks per bird, was recorded from Common Starling. The highest prevalence of infestation was recorded on Common Blackbird (53%). The most prevalence of tick infestation occurred in the Turdidae family (37.83%) followed by Passeridae (33.33%) and Sturnidae (28.57%).


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