Effects of introduced sika deer (Cervus nippon) and population control activity on the distribution of haemaphysalis ticks in an island environment.
The effects of introduced mammal species on the ecology of parasites are often under investigated. The sika deeer, Cervus nippon, is host species of many hard ticks. We collected 8348 ticks on an island where sika deer were introduced. The most representative species was Haemaphysalis megaspinosa (n = 4198; 50.3%), followed by H. longicornis (n = 1945; 23.3%), H. cornigera (n = 1179; 14.1%), H. flava (n = 713; 8.5%), Ixodes turdus (n = 289; 3.7%), I. granulatus (n = 22; 0.3%), and H. hystricis (n = 2; <0.1%) on an island where sika deer were introduced. H. megaspinosa and H. hystricis have not previously been recorded on the Izu islands. The high abundance of H. megaspinosa indicated that the tick species may have been introduced with the sika deer. Furthermore, H. megaspinosa larvae were more abundant at collection sites 21-40 days after sika deer were caught by foot snare traps indicate that engorged female of this tick species were forced to drop off in a very limited area near the foot snare trap. This represented a risk for hunters and people associated with wildlife control visiting the area.