Carnivores in the Iberian Peninsula, such as the Iberian lynx, are under an increasingly serious threat: ticks that can adapt to changing climatic conditions and that can even survive in extremely arid environments. A study headed by Spanish researchers confirms the innate ability of ticks to adapt according to climate.
The life cycle of ticks varies with changes to the climate, habitat or movement patterns of people and goods. These parasites and the pathogens they carry are a danger to public health, animal health and conservation. What is more is that both differ in terms of their geographical distribution and population size due to changes in their environment.
The study has been published in the Veterinary Parasitology journal and demonstrates that despite the great climatic variation between different regions in Spain, there is the constant risk of animal parasitation. This is mainly due to the fact that the parasites adapt to environmental conditions.
"The ability of different species of ticks to adapt to prevailing climatic conditions means that the Peninsula's carnivores, such as wolves, foxes, martens and badgers amongst others, are at risk of similar levels of parasitation. In the case of exophilic ticks though, they have an even greater ability to adapt to arid conditions," explains to SINC Francisco Ruiz-Fons, lead author and researcher at the Research Institute of Hunting Resources (IREC) of the University of Castilla-La Mancha and the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council).
In the case of endophilic ticks, which inhabit the nests and burrows of its hosts, the risk of Iberian carnivores being parasitised is more "variable" because the parasites are less conditioned to the climate given their sheltered habitat.
Strong vectors of disease
According to researchers, changes in tick populations pose a significant risk to Spanish wildlife because the parasites introduce exotic ill
|Contact: SINC Team|
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology