An Evaluation of the Hard Ticks (Ixodidae) Infesting Cane Toads Rhinella marina (Bufonidae) in Northeastern Trinidad, W.I.
Keywords:Anura, Ixodidae, ectoparasite, host preference, instar
The cane toad Rhinella marina provides a unique opportunity to investigate Neotropical ectoparasite communities, because
individuals travel long distances and traverse multiple habitat types, each inhabited by different species of ectoparasite including ticks (Ixodidae). To evaluate the ticks parasitising Rhinella marina within northeastern Trinidad, individual toads were obtained from four agrarian sites with different environmental characteristics and proximity to urban or sylvan areas. Individuals were collected by hand and inspected for ticks within 5-10 minutes of capture. Parasitism by ticks occurred in 12 of the 39 toads collected. R. marina specimens were hosts to 12 species of ticks represented by five genera (Amblyomma spp., Hamaphysalis spp., Hyalomma spp., Ixodes spp., and Rhipicephalis spp.). Individuals sampled from sylvan environments exhibited the highest incidence of infestation with a low to moderate density of toads while individuals collected from urban environments showed lower incidences of infestation despite the greatest density of toads. 84% of all ticks collected were female and 43% of all ticks collected were immature. Individuals representing all instars were obtained for all five genera excluding Amblyomma spp., for which only adult specimens were observed. The data resulting from this study provides evidence that R. marina is infested by a moderate diversity of tick species in northeastern Trinidad which reinforces the utility of this species as a means to study ectoparasites within Neotropical environments.