Occurrence of ectoparasitic arthropods associated with rodents in Hail region northern Saudi Arabia.Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Sep; 21(17):10120-8.ES
Ectoparasitic arthropods are a diverse element of the Saudi fauna. Due to this, a survey of ectoparasites associated with rodents was conducted as a preliminary study in five districts of Hail region of northern Saudi Arabia for the first time. Ectoparasites extracted from 750 rodents were sampled and identified by recording their frequency of appearance. Results revealed that 1,287 ectoparasites infested 316 of the captured rodent hosts. These ectoparasites parasitized on four species of rodents including three species of rats Rattus rattus rattus, Rattus rattus frugivorus, and Rattus rattus alexandrinus and one species of mouse Acomys dimidiatus (Rodentia: Muridae). The ectoparasites belong to four different groups: ticks, fleas, lice, and mites. Ticks were the highest in the number, while fleas were the lowest among all the extracted ectoparasite groups. The collected ectoparasitic arthropods consisted of seven species. Ticks were of two species: Rhipicephalus turanicus and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Acari: Ixodidae), fleas were of two species: Xenopsylla cheopis and Xenopsyllus conformis mycerini (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae), lice was a single species: Polyplax serrata (Anoplura: Hoplopleuridae), and mites were of two species: Laelaps nuttali and Laelaps echidninus (Mesostigmata: Laelapidae). The findings of the study showed that the intensity of infestation was varied between rodent host sexes, wherein females had the highest rate of parasitic infestation, and the parasitic index of appearance was very high for one group of parasites (i.e., ticks). The parasitic prevalence was 42.13 % on rodents, and mites were the most prevalent parasite species. Overall, this study was carried out to establish baseline data for ectoparasite-infested rodents in Hail region, Saudi Arabia, and may help for appropriate planning to control zoonotic diseases in this area.