Comparative host usage by Amblyomma hebraeum and Amblyomma marmoreum, (Acari, Ixodidae) the South African vectors of the disease heartwater,.
A comparative and quantitative study was made of the wild hosts of A. hebraeum and A. marmoreum in South Africa. Adults of A. marmoreum occurred almost exclusively on the leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis). Nymphs were also found on helmeted guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) and scrub hare (Lepus saxatilis). In addition, larvae were also recovered from greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros). Adults of A. hebraeum were found on the tortoise and kudu, whereas the larvae and nymphs were found on all 4 hosts. Larvae and nymphs of both species (but not adults) were also recovered from caracal (Felis caracal), 2 breeds of sheep and calves. Adults of A. hebraeum also infested the latter. This niche overlap indicated that A. marmoreum may be a more significant vector of Cowdria ruminantium than previously thought.