Attraction of Amblyomma variegatum (ticks) to the attraction-aggregation-attachment-pheromone with or without carbon dioxide
Kaaya Godwin P.
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The responses of adult Amblyomma variegatum ticks released from various distances to different doses of the synthetic attraction-aggregation-attachment pheromone (AAAP) (made up of orthonitrophenol, methyl salicylate and nonanoic acid in paraffin oil), dispensed from the center of circular field plots, were studied in the presence or absence of elevated levels of CO2. Up to 90% of the ticks released were attracted to the pheromone source in the presence of CO2 within 3h. CO2 alone was unattractive, similar to previous findings in Zimbabwe, but unlike results from a Caribbean A. variegatum population, which was significantly attracted to this signal. In the absence of CO2, smaller but significant proportions of the released ticks were attracted to the pheromone, albeit more slowly, suggesting another variation in the responses of this bont tick to inter- and intra-specific signals. Our results are interpreted in the light of a study undertaken elsewhere demonstrating relatively high heterozygosity among tick populations. Possible directions of further research to explore the use of the pheromone in off-host control of the tick are also highlighted.