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The study on ecology of ticks on cattle was carried out in Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK) Awka and environs, where cattle-grazing occurred continuously. Eighty cattle and twenty 40m2 quadrats were conventionally sampled for ticks in UNIZIK between April 2009 and March 2012. The 608 ticks recovered from cattle comprised 386 (63.5%) in Wet Season and 222 (36.5%) in Dry Season while the 1441 from pasture comprised 851 (59.1%) in Wet Season and 590 (40.9%) in Dry Season. Genera of ticks on the sampled cattle during respective Wet and Dry Seasons were Amblyomma 78 (20.2%) & 37 (16.7%), Boophilus 84 (21.8%) & 43 (19.4%), Hyalomma 135 (34.9%) & 84 (37.8%), and Rhipicephalus 89 (23.1%) & 58 (26.1%). Amblyomma species were recovered from practically all parts of cattle, Boophilus and Rhipicephalus species were commonly found around head and trunk regions while Hyalomma species were recovered mainly from the limbs and adjoining lower parts of the body. Average tick burdens were 77.2 ticks/head (Wet Season) and 44.4 ticks/head (Dry Season), with the Wet and Dry Seasons compositions as Amblyomma (15.6 and 7.4), Boophilus (16.8 and 8.6), Hyalomma (27 & 16.8), and Rhipicephalus (17.8 & 11.6). Female to male Sex ratio of the adult ticks was 1: 1.68 (Wet Season) and 1: 1.66 (Dry Season). For the genera, the Wet and Dry Seasons female to male ratios were Amblyomma 1: 1.53 & 1: 1.54, Boophilus 1: 1. 98 & 1: 1.8, Hyalomma 1: 1.68 & 1: 1.64, and Rhipicephalus 1: 1.58 & 1: 1.7. Differences in sex ratios among the genera were not significant (P>0.05) but sexual dimorphism occurred, with males being smaller than females. Mean abundance of ticks on the sampled quadrats were 42.5 (Wet Season) and 29.5 (Dry Season), comprising Amblyomma (19.5 and 10.8),

Boophilus (10.0 and 9.4), Hyalomma (3.5 and 3.5), and Rhipicephalus (9.5 and 5.8). Larvae of Boophilus, larvae and adults of Hyalomma, and all forms of Amblyomma and Rhipicephalus were found on sampled quadrats, thus confirming the statuses of Boophilus as 1-host tick, Hyalomma as 2-host tick, with Amblyomma and Rhipicephalus as 3-host ticks. Average Wet Season densities (ticks/m2) on respective locations of ‘very high’, ‘high’, ‘moderate’, ‘low’, and ‘very low’ intensity-of-cattle activities were 1.66, 0.9, 0.98, 0.49, and 0.82 (P<0.05). Similarly, Dry Season densities (ticks/m2) on these locations were 1.52, 0.9, 0.49, 0.10, and 0.00 respectively (P<0.05). Abundance of ticks on quadrats had direct relationship with the spatial ranking of intensity of cattle activities on the sampled location. Amblyomma species was dominant in UNIZIK, and there were significant differences (P<.05) between the respective Wet and Dry Seasons Indices of Dominance calculated for Amblyomma species in the ‘very high’ intensity of cattle activity location were 0.1940 & 0.1320, ‘high’ (0.2570 & 0.1420), ‘moderate’ (0.2338 & 0.1326), ‘low’ (0.1377 & 0.1250), and ‘very low’ (0.2462 & 0.0). However, Hyalomma species was found to be the most dominant species on cattle sampled in UNIZIK. It was inferred that cattle introduced these ticks into UNIZIK. The genera of ticks in UNIZIK are well-known vectors of disease pathogens in sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria. Result of this study will help to fill the gap on the knowledge of the diversity, abundance and dynamics of ticks in UNIZIK, as well as increase public health awareness on the hazards associated with ticks. It will also be useful in the formulation of evidence-based policy decisions on vector control and cattle movement.

Bank: GTBank
Account Name: Prince Orafu
Account Number: 0109980866

Bank: Diamond Bank
Account Name: Prince Orafu
Account Number: 0065070861

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