Publication details.


Author(s):A. Sanz-Aguilar, A. Payo-Payo, A. Rotger, L. Yousfi, S. Moutailler, C. Beck, M. Dumarest, J.M. Igual, M.A. Miranda, M. Viñas-Torres, V. Picorelli, A. Gamble, T. Boulinier
Title:Infestation of small seabirds by Ornithodoros maritimus ticks: effects on chick body condition, reproduction and associated infectious agents
Journal:Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases
JCR Impact Factor:3.744
Abstract:Ticks can negatively affect their host by direct effects as blood feeding causing anaemia or discomfort, or by pathogen transmission. Consequently, ticks can have an important role in the population dynamics of their hosts. However, specific studies on the demographic effects of tick infestation on seabirds are still scarce. Seabird ticks have also the potential to be responsible for the circulation of little known tick-borne agents, which could have implications for non-seabird species. Here, we report the results of investigations on potential associations between soft tick Ornithodoros maritimus load and reproductive parameters of storm petrels Hydrobates pelagicus breeding in a large colony in a cave of Espartar Island, in the Balearic archipelago. We also investigated by molecular analyses the potential viral and bacterial pathogens associated with O. maritimus ticks present at the colony. Lower nestling survival was recorded in the most infested area, deep in the cave, compared to the area near the entrance. The parasite load was negatively associated with the body condition of the nestlings. One pool of ticks tested positive for West Nile virus and 4 pools tested positive for a Borrelia species which was determined by targeted nested PCR to have a 99% sequence identity with B. turicatae, a relapsing fever Borrelia. Overall, these results show that further investigations are needed to better understand the ecology and epidemiology of the interactions between ticks, pathogens and Procellariiform species.

Related staff

  • Ana Sanz Aguilar
  • Jose Manuel Igual Gómez
  • Andreu Rotger Vallespir
  • Related departments

  • Field Ecology
  • Animal and Microbial Biodiversity
  • Related projects

  • RESET CTA 161
  • Related research groups

  • Ecology and Evolution