Host identification in unfed ticks from stable isotope compositions (δ13C and δ15N)

Heylen, D., Schmidt, O., Dautel, H., Gern, L., Kampen, H., Newton, J. and Gray, J. (2019) Host identification in unfed ticks from stable isotope compositions (δ13C and δ15N). Medical and Veterinary Entomology, (doi:10.1111/mve.12372) (PMID:30883848) (Early Online Publication)

Heylen, D., Schmidt, O., Dautel, H., Gern, L., Kampen, H., Newton, J. and Gray, J. (2019) Host identification in unfed ticks from stable isotope compositions (δ13C and δ15N). Medical and Veterinary Entomology, (doi:10.1111/mve.12372) (PMID:30883848) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

Determination of the ratios of natural stable isotopes (13C/12C and 15N/14N) in unfed Ixodes ricinus nymphs and adults, which, in their previous stage, fed on captive wild rodents (Apodemus sylvaticus and Myodes glareolus), wild birds (Parus major and Cyanistes caeruleus) or domestic ruminants (Ovis aries and Bos taurus), demonstrated that it is possible to identify each host category with confidence. First, the tick–blood spacing, which is the difference between values obtained from ticks and the blood of hosts that they had fed on in the previous stage, was consistent (152 spacings investigated from 15 host individuals in total). Second, potential confounding factors (tick age and sex) did not affect the discriminatory power of the isotope patterns, nor did different rearing conditions (room temperature vs. 4 °C) or the duration of development (maximum of 430 days). The findings that the tick–blood isotope spacings, across a diverse range of hosts, were similar and predictable, and that confounders had little or no effect on this, strongly support the usage of the isotope approach. Because each of the host categories has a different role in the population dynamics of I. ricinus and in tick‐borne pathogen ecology, the method described here has great potential for the clarification of tick and tick‐borne pathogen ecology in the field.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Dieter Heylen is funded by the Marie Sklodowska‐Curie Actions (EU‐Horizon 2020, Individual Global Fellowship, project no. 799609) and the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders (FWO). The research was partly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Newton, Dr Jason
Authors: Heylen, D., Schmidt, O., Dautel, H., Gern, L., Kampen, H., Newton, J., and Gray, J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Medical and Veterinary Entomology
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0269-283X
ISSN (Online):1365-2915
Published Online:18 March 2019

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