Amblyomma mixtum free-living stages: Inferences on dry and wet seasons use, preference, and niche width in an agroecosystem (Yopal, Casanare, Colombia)



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The formulation of effective control strategies for any pest species generally involves the study of habitat use and preference and niche width in anthropogenically transformed natural landscapes. We evaluated whether the use, habitat preference, and niche range of the Amblyomma mixtum tick changed between stages, habitats, and seasonality (dry-wet seasons 2019) on a farm in Yopal (Casanare, Colombia). The presence and relative abundance of free-living larvae, nymphs, and adults was quantified in four different habitats according to the type of vegetation cover (Riparian Forest, Cocoa Crop, King Grass Crop, and Star Grass Paddock). Habitat availability was estimated, environmental variables were analyzed, and various indices of habitat use and preference, and niche width were calculated. A. mixtum's habitat use and preference, and niche width changed between stages, habitat types, and time of the year. The total abundance of A. mixtum was an order of magnitude greater in the dry season than the wet season. In the dry season, all stages used all habitats, while A. mixtum adults used all the habitats in both seasons. In the dry season, nymphs and larvae preferred three out of the four habitats, while adults preferred the King Grass Crop. In the wet season, nymphs and larvae preferred two habitats, whereas the adults preferred the King Grass Crop. The value of the niche width index was high for larvae, nymphs, and adults in the dry season, while it was high only for adults in the wet season. Thus, A. mixtum's vast environmental tolerance and niche breadth allows the species to use and colonize changing habitats (unstable or temporary) with fluctuating environmental conditions (e.g., King Grass Crop), potentially keeping a stable population over time and making it an extremely resistant species. However, the wet flooding season in Yopal may exceed A. mixtum's stages' tolerances.




4 April 2022

PubMed ID



85127683075 (Scopus)