In the late 20th century, elk (Cervus canadensis) were reintroduced into southeastern Kentucky, US. This population has since been used as a stock population for additional elk reintroductions in other eastern states. Although reintroduction and translocation practices are effective, they can disseminate vectors and pathogens. Therefore, we surveyed tick species residing on elk hosts a decade after elk reintroduction in Kentucky by examining 263 captured individuals (female=86; male=177) from 2011 to 2013. A total of 1,617 ticks were collected from 255 elk. We found five tick species: American dog (Dermacentor variabilis), Gulf Coast (Amblyom-ma maculatum), winter (Dermacentor albipictus), deer (Ixodes scapularis), and Lone Star (Ambly-omma americanum). The most prevalent ticks were winter tick (52.3%) and American dog tick (42.1%). We found no difference between female and male elk in mean intensity of American dog tick (mean=2.6, 95% confidence limits: 2.6, 2.7; P=0.701) or winter tick (mean=3.28, 95% confidence limits: 2.21, 2.07; P=0.274). Our findings demonstrated that the elk population acts as host to a diversity of tick species, suggested a broader distribution of tick species than previously reported in Kentucky, and highlighted the potential for inadvertent spread of ticks through translocation and reintroduction efforts, even on a local scale.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Journal of Wildlife Diseases|
|State||Published - Apr 2018|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank the staff of Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for their assistance in elk capture and processing, which facilitated tick collection. We thank Lee Townsend for his assistance in tick identification and Townsend, Michael Tha-mann, and two reviewers for commentary and feedback on this manuscript. This work was partially funded by a grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
© Wildlife Disease Association 2018.
- Elk reintroduction
- Tick distribution
- Vector translocation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics