First hemispheric report of invasive tick species Haemaphysalis punctata, first state report of Haemaphysalis longicornis, and range expansion of native tick species in Rhode Island, USA.
Background: Invasive arthropod vectors and the range expansions of native vectors can lead to public and veterinary health concerns, as these vectors may introduce novel pathogens or spread endemic pathogens to new locations. Recent tick invasions and range expansion in the USA has been attributed to climate and land use change, an increase in global travel, and importations of exotic animals. Methods: A 10-year surveillance study was conducted on Block Island, Rhode Island, from 2010 to 2020 including sampling ticks from small mammal and avian hosts. Results: We report the discovery and establishment of the red sheep tick (Haemaphysalis punctata) for the first time in the western hemisphere and in the US. This invasive species was first collected in 2010 on Block Island, was collected continuously throughout the study, and was collected from an avian host. We document the first report of the invasive Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) in the state of Rhode Island, first observed at our sites in 2018. Finally, we present data on the range expansion and establishment of two native tick species, the lone star tick and the rabbit tick, on Block Island. Conclusion: This study emphasized the importance of long-term surveillance to detect changes in tick host communities, including invasive and expanding native vectors of potential significance to humans and wildlife.