Infestation of the spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca) by Hyalomma aegyptium in Tunisia.Ticks Tick Borne Dis 2015; 6(3):352-5TT
We examined 210 spur-thighed tortoises (Testudo graeca) for the presence of ticks in Tunisia during May 2014. A total number of 602 adult ticks were collected and identified leading to the estimation of parasitological indicators. All the ticks belonged to a single species: Hyalomma aegyptium. The mean infestation prevalence was 66.2%, mean overall infestation intensity and abundance were 4.33 and 2.86 ticks/tortoise respectively. Our survey showed that tortoises were significantly more infested by male ticks than females (p<0.001). The ticks were mainly present in the posterior limbs compared to other body regions (p<0.05). There was no significance variation of length and weight of tortoises according to sex (p<0.05). There was a significant correlation between the tortoises' size (length and weight) and tick infestation. This study showed high tick burdens of spur-thighed tortoises in Tunisia; further investigations are needed to determine exactly the role of this tick species in the transmission of different zoonotic pathogens.