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Revista Brasileira de Parasitologia Veterinária

Print version ISSN 0103-846XOn-line version ISSN 1984-2961

Rev. Bras. Parasitol. Vet. vol.25 no.1 Jaboticabal Jan./Mar. 2016  Epub Mar 18, 2016 

Research Note

New records for Amblyomma sculptum (Ixodidae) on non-passerine birds in Brazil

Novos registros de Amblyomma sculptum (Ixodidae) em aves não-passeriformes no Brasil

Hermes Ribeiro Luz1  * 

João Luiz Horacio Faccini1 

Gabriel Alves Landulfo1 

Sócrates Fraga Costa Neto2 

Kátia Maria Famadas1 

1Departmento de Parasitologia Animal, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro – UFRRJ, Seropédica, RJ, Brasil

2Programa de Pós-graduação em Biodiversidade e Saúde, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil


The aim of this paper was to provide new records of Amblyomma sculptum on two species of terricolous birds in two areas of the Cerrado (savannah- like) bioma: two specimens of Cariama cristata were captured in the state of Goiás and one specimen ofCrax fasciolata was captured in the state of Minas Gerais. One of the C. cristata was parasitized by 15 larvae, six nymphs, one male and two females whereas the C. fasciolata was parasitized by seven larvae and eight nymphs. This paper presents a new locality for occurrence of parasitism A. sculptum in C. cristata and a new host for C fasciolata.

Keywords:  Amblyomma sculptum; Ixodidae; Terricolous; Cerrado; Brazil


O objetivo deste trabalho foi apresentar novos registros de Amblyomma sculptum em duas espécies de aves terrícolas em duas áreas do bioma Cerrado: dois espécimes de Cariama cristata foram capturados no Estado de Goiás e um exemplar de Crax fasciolata foi capturado no Estado de Minas Gerais. Um dos exemplares de C. fasciolataestava parasitado por 15 larvas, seis ninfas, um macho e duas fêmeas, enquantoC. fasciolata estava parasitada por sete larvas e oito ninfas. Neste registro são apresentados nova localidade para ocorrência do parasitismo de A. sculptum em C. cristata e novo hospedeiro para C. fasciolata.

Palavras-chave:  Amblyomma sculptum; Ixodidae; Terrícolas; Cerrado; Brasil

The association of ticks, wild birds and the pathogens they disperse worldwide, which may infect humans and domestic animals, has been known for a long time (HOOGSTRAAL, 1961; LUZ & FACCINI, 2013; MARTINS et al., 2014; LUGARINI et al., 2015).

In the last 10 years, numerous studies have highlighted the association of ticks, wild birds and pathogens carried by ticks in Brazil (LABRUNA et al., 2007; OGRZEWALSKA et al., 2008, 2009, 2010; TOLESANO-PASCOLI et al., 2010; LUZ et al., 2012; MARTINS et al., 2014; LUGARINI et al., 2015). In this context, the order Passeriformes has the largest number of tick species described in comparison with non-passerine birds. However, this difference might be due to the capture methods employed, which generally use mist nets that are considered inadequate for capture of non-passerines (LUZ & FACCINI, 2013). To date, the non-passerine group of birds in Brazil is represented by approximately 809 species, with few records of parasitism by ticks (LUZ & FACCINI, 2013; CBRO, 2014).

The tick Amblyomma sculptum (formely A. cajennense) is probably the most important vector of Rickettsia rickettsii, the causative agent of the Brazilian Spotted Fever. According to Beati et al. (2013) and Nava et al. (2014) this species is primarily distributed in southeastern and central regions of Brazil, although further research is needed to exactly delimit its boundaries. As already pointed out by Labruna et al. (2007) previous identifications of A. sculptum from wild birds should be view with caution because ticks were not identified by current reliable methods such as rearing ticks to the adult stage or molecular methods. In this paper, we report new host and locality records of A. sculptum parasiting two non-passerines birds, Cariama cristata Linnaeus, 1766 (Cariamidae) andCrax fasciolata Spix, 1825 (Cracidae).

Three specimens of birds were captured in a wild environment in the Cerrado biome, two specimens of C. cristata (State of Goias, GO, municipality of Morrinhos, 17° 42’ 15”S; 49° 10’ 47”W) and one C. fasciolata (State of Minas Gerais, MG, municipality of Três Marias, 18° 20’ 22”S; 45° 21’ 18”W) during a survey of bird fauna carried out during 2009 and 2012. Birds were identified according to Sigrist (2007) and classified according to the recommendations of the Brazilian Committee of Ornithological Records (CBRO, 2014). Ticks were identified according to morphological criteria: females (NAVA et al., 2014), larvae (FAMADAS et al., 1997;BARBIERI et al., 2007) nymphs (MARTINS et al., 2010) and males (ONOFRIO et al., 2006). All larvae, nymphs and males identified as A. cajennense were considered as A. sculptum for reasons of their geographic origin. Specifically, we used the U-shaped genital aperture of both females to identify them as A. sculptum (NAVA et al., 2014). In addition, we supposedly consider the remaining specimens as A. sculptumbased on their distribution (NAVA et al., 2014).

Mounted larvae used to porotaxy in this study were deposited in the Butantan Institute collection, São Paulo, Brazil (IBSP) under the access numbers (IBSP12101) and (IBSP12102).

In total, we collected 39 ticks: 22 larvae, 14 nymphs, one male and two females from the neck (7 larvae and nymphs 8), head (15 larvae, nymphs 6) and mentum (3 adults) of the birds. Only one of the two specimens of C. cristata was parasitized by 15 larvae, six nymphs, one male and two females whereas the C. fasciolata was parasitized by seven larvae and eight nymphs. This paper provides details of a new host and locality records of A.sculptum inC fasciolata and new host for larvae and adults (1 male, 2 females) and locality records in C. cristata.

The tick A. sculptum was resurrected recently from within the A. cajennense complex which is composed of six species, distributed from the southern USA to northern Argentina. To date, two species have been found in Brazil:A. cajennense s.s., primarily from the Amazon region and A. sculptum, mainly from the Southeast and Central West regions (NAVA et al., 2014), although their exactly range still needs to be determined.

Based on our current knowledge it appears that A. sculptum is a very well adapted tick in the Cerrado biome and in anthropized area of Atlantic Forest, having as preferential hosts capivaras and horses (SZABÓ et al., 2009; VERONEZ et al., 2010; BEATI et al., 2013; NAVA et al., 2014). Prior to the current report, parasitism by ticks in C. cristata has been related by Labruna et al. (2007) (one nymph of A. cajennense s.l.) from the State of São Paulo. Regarding the hosts, bothC. cristata and C. fasciolata are terricolous birds which are characterized by seeking food and shelter and, in most cases, nesting directly on the ground (FERREIRA et al., 2010). The first species is widely distributed in Brazil, but rarely recorded from Amazon, whereas C. fasciolata has a concentrated distribution in the Central-West Region of the country, until the West of São Paulo, Paraná and Minas Gerais states (SICK, 1997). These birds have great importance as dispersers of seeds throughout the Brazilian Cerrado (SICK, 1997; DIAS et al., 2010), a behavior that might help with dispersion of A. sculptum through the Cerrado biome.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the Brazilian research funding agencies CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel), FAPERJ (Carlos Chagas Filho Foundation for Research Support of Rio de Janeiro State) and CNPq (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development).


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Received: May 26, 2015; Accepted: June 15, 2015

*Corresponding author: Hermes Ribeiro Luz. Departamento de Parasitologia Animal, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro – UFRRJ, 23851-970, Seropédica, RJ, Brasil. e-mail:

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