Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research
On-line version ISSN 2219-0635
SPICKETT, Arthur M; GALLIVAN, Gordon J and HORAK, Ivan G. The dynamics of questing ticks collected for 164 consecutive months off the vegetation of two landscape zones in the Kruger National Park (1988-2002). Part II. Rhipicephalus appendiculatus and Rhipicephalus zambeziensis. Onderstepoort j. vet. res. [online]. 2011, vol.78, n.1, pp. 18-26. ISSN 2219-0635.
The study aimed to assess the long-term population dynamics of questing Rhipicephalus appendiculatus and Rhipicephalus zambeziensis in two landscape zones of the Kruger National Park (KNP). Ticks were collected by dragging the vegetation monthly in three habitats (grassland, woodland and gully) at two sites in the KNP (Nhlowa Road and Skukuza) from August 1988 to March 2002. Larvae were the most commonly collected stage of both species. More R. appendiculatus were collected at Nhlowa Road than at Skukuza, with larvae being most abundant from May to August, while nymphs were most abundant from August to December. Larvae were most commonly collected in the gullies from 1991 to 1994, but in the grassland and woodland habitats from 1998 onwards. Nymphs were most commonly collected in the grassland and woodland. More R. zambeziensis were collected at Skukuza than at Nhlowa Road, with larvae being most abundant from May to September, while nymphs were most abundant from August to November. Larvae and nymphs were most commonly collected in the woodland and gullies and least commonly in the grassland (p < 0.01). The lowest numbers of R. appendiculatus were collected in the mid-1990s after the 1991/1992 drought. Rhipicephalus zambeziensis numbers declined after 1991 and even further after 1998, dropping to their lowest levels during 2002. The changes in numbers of these two species reflected changes in rainfall and the populations of several of their large herbivore hosts, as well as differences in the relative humidity between the two sites over time