Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Molecular comparison of cattle fever ticks from native and introduced ranges, with insights into optimal search areas for classical biological control agents.

Abstract

Cattle fever ticks, the southern cattle tick, Rhipicephalus microplus (Canestrini), and cattle tick, Rhipicephalus annulatus (Say), are livestock pests endemic to Mexico and invasive along the Texas-Mexico border. Resistance to acaricide, alternate wildlife hosts, and pathogenic landscape-forming weeds present challenges for sustainable eradication of this pest in the U.S. Classical biological control is being explored as a strategy to control cattle fever ticks, especially on alternate hosts such as nilgai antelope, Boselaphus tragocamelus (Pallas), and white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmermann). Molecular genetic tools were used to compare populations of cattle fever ticks from native and introduced ranges to provide insights into optimal search areas for potential biological control agents. Accessions representative of invasive populations of southern cattle tick from subtropical Zapata, TX, and other parts of the invaded range including Brazil and Kenya matched most closely populations in Cambodia and the Philippines. Similarly, accessions of cattle tick from invaded range in Del Rio, TX matched closely with accessions from native range in Bulgaria and Romania. These regions should be prioritized for field exploration for biological control agents.