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Ticks infesting bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera) in the Brazilian Pantanal

Muñoz-Leal, Sebastián, Eriksson, Alan, Santos, Carolina Ferreira, Fischer, Erich, de Almeida, Juliana Cardoso, Luz, Hermes R., Labruna, Marcelo B.
Experimental & applied acarology 2016 v.69 no.1 pp. 73-85
Artibeus, Ornithodoros, Phyllostomus hastatus, Platyrrhinus lineatus, acarology, larvae, tick infestations, ticks, tropics, zoogeography, Pantanal
Ticks associated with bats have been poorly documented in the Neotropical Zoogeographical Region. In this study, a total of 1028 bats were sampled for tick infestations in the southern portion of the Brazilian Pantanal. A total of 368 ticks, morphologically identified as Ornithodoros hasei (n = 364) and O. mimon (n = 4), were collected from the following bat species: Artibeus planirostris, Platyrrhinus lineatus, Phyllostomus hastatus, Mimon crenulatum and Noctilio albiventris. Morphological identification of O. hasei was confirmed by molecular analysis. Regarding the most abundant bat species, only 40 (6.2 %) out of 650 A. planirostris were infested by O. hasei, with a mean intensity of 7.2 ticks per infested bat, or a mean abundance of 0.44 ticks per sampled bat. Noteworthy, one single P. hastatus was infested by 55 O. hasei larvae, in contrast to the 2.5–7.2 range of mean intensity values for the whole study. As a complement to the present study, a total of 8 museum bat specimens (6 Noctilio albiventris and 2 N. leporinus), collected in the northern region of Pantanal, were examined for tick infestations. These bats contained 176 ticks, which were all morphologically identified as O. hasei larvae. Mean intensity of infestation was 22, with a range of 1–46 ticks per infested bat. Our results suggest that A. planirostris might play an important role in the natural life cycle of O. hasei in the Pantanal.