Physiology and Behaviour of Ixodes Scapularis Infected with Bartonella spp. in Nova Scotia

  •  Khadijah Carey    
  •  Amal El Nabbout    
  •  Emma Macnutt-Burrows    
  •  Matthew Rooney    
  •  Mandy Mitton    
  •  James Kho    
  •  Aziz Shakhzodov    
  •  Jacinthe Piche    
  •  Tatiana Rossolimo    


Bartonella is a genus of pathogenic gram-negative bacteria that primarily parasitizes mammalian hosts and is understood to be the causative agent for a number of illnesses that affects humans and their companion animals. In Nova Scotia, Ixodes scapularis (Say) is the primary vector of Bartonella spp. Recent studies suggest that the presence of bacterial agents may influence the physiology and behaviour of these Ixodes ticks. Following in this research, the goal of the current study was to determine potential changes in physiology and behaviour in I. scapularis infected with Bartonella spp. For this purpose, I. scapularis ticks were collected in Nova Scotia and subjected to tests to determine temperature preference and supercooling point (SCP), followed by DNA extraction, PCR, and gel electrophoresis in order to detect the presence of the Bartonella spp. in the collected samples. 45.5% of the experimental population was determined to be infected with Bartonella spp., with males infected at a rate of 48.7% and females at a rate of 42.3%. Infected females demonstrated a preference for a lower average temperature (23.85°C ±2.41) than uninfected females (26.47°C ±2.90), however confidence intervals based on standard deviation around the mean suggests that this difference is not significant. No other significant difference was determined between the infected and uninfected populations. We therefore conclude that Bartonella spp. infection does not affect the behaviour or physiology of I. scapularis.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9671
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-968X
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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