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The tortoise tick Hyalomma aegyptium has a typical three-host life-cycle. Whereas its larvae and nymphs are less host-specific feeding on a variety of tetrapods, tortoises of the genus Testudo are principal hosts of adults. Ticks retained this trait also in our study under laboratory conditions, while adults were reluctant to feed on mammalian hosts. Combination of feeding larvae and nymphs on guinea pigs and feeding of adults on Testudo marginata tortoises provided the best results. Feeding period of females was on average 25 days (range 17-44), whereas males remain after female engorgement on tortoise host. Female pre-oviposition period was 14 days (3-31), followed by 24 days of oviposition (18-29). Pre-eclosion and eclosion, both together, takes 31 days (21-43). Larvae fed 5 days (3-9), then molted to nymphs after 17 days (12-23). Feeding period of nymphs lasted 7 days (5-10), engorged nymphs molted to adults after 24 days (19-26). Sex ratio of laboratory hatched H. aegyptium was nearly equal (1:1.09). The average weight of engorged female was 0.95 (0.72-1.12) g. The average number of laid eggs was 6,900 (6,524-7,532) per female, it was significantly correlated with weight of engorged female. Only 2.8% of engorged larvae and 1.8% of engorged nymphs remained un-molted and died. Despite the use of natural host species, feeding success of females reached only 45%. The whole life-cycle was completed within 147 days (98-215).
Department of Biology and Wildlife Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene and Ecology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Palackého 1-3, 612 42, Brno, Czech Republic, email@example.com.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Experimental & applied acarology
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