Systematic & Applied Acarology
ISSN 1362-1971
An international journal of the Systematic and Applied Acarology Society, published since 1996

[Aims] [Editors] [Content] [Subscriptions] [Contact details] [Society Homepage]

Systematic & Applied Acarology (2007) 12, 91-97

Variation in the attachment sites of ticks to Australian lizards


1School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, GPO Box 2471, Adelaide SA 5001, Australia

2Zoologisches Institut I, Abt. Ökologie - Parasitologie, Kornblumenstr. 13, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany

3Corresponding author. Tel.: +61-8-83021881; fax.: +61-8-83022389. E-mail:


A number of species of reptile ticks in Australia, particularly those using the sleepy lizard (Trachydosaurus rugosus) as their dominant host, form parapatric boundaries wherever they come into contact. A variety of hypotheses have been put forward to explain these boundaries, none of which has yet been demonstrated to be correct. Two of these, one involving reproductive interference and the other competition for attachment sites to hosts, were based on field observations of differences in attachment sites between species and regional variation in attachment sites within species. These hypotheses assume that species-specific attachment site preferences are static. Here we show, using data from single-species infestations of T. rugosus, that this is not the case for either Aponomma hydrosauri males or Amblyomma albolimbatum males or females. We suggest that dynamics in attachment site choice are driven, at least in part, by male movement in search of females.

Key words: Amblyomma, Aponomma, attachment sites, reptile host


Andrews, R.H. (1982) Mating behaviour and reproductive isolation of three species of reptile tick. Animal Behaviour, 30, 514–524.

Andrews, R.H. & Bull, C.M. (1980) Mating behaviour in the Australian reptile tick Aponomma hydrosauri. Animal Behaviour, 28, 518–522.

Andrews, R.H. & Petney, T.N. (1981) Competition for sites of attachment to hosts in three parapatric species of reptile tick. Oecologia, 51, 227–232.

Andrews, R.H., Petney, T.N. & Bull, C.M. (1982a) Reproductive interference between three parapatric species of reptile tick. Oecologia, 52, 281–286.

Andrews, R.H., Petney, T.N. & Bull, C.M. (1982b) Niche changes between parasite populations: an example from ticks on reptiles. Oecologia, 55, 77–80.

Bull, C.M. (1978) Heterogeneity of resource utilization in a population of the Australian reptile tick, Aponomma hydrosauri (Denny). Ecological Entomology, 3, 171–179.

Bull, C.M., Burzacott, D. & Sharrad, R.D. (1989) No competition for resources between two tick species at their parapatric boundary. Oecologia, 79, 558–562.

Bull, C.M. & Sharrad, R.D. (1980) Seasonal activity of the reptile tick, Aponomma hydrosauri (Denny) (Acari: Ixodidae) in experimental enclosures. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society, 19, 47–52.

Chilton, N.B. (1994) Differences in the life cycles of two species of reptile tick: implications for species distributions. International Journal for Parasitology, 24, 791–795.

Chilton, N.B., Andrews, R.H. & Bull, C.M. (1992) Interspecific differences in the movements of female ticks on reptiles. International Journal for Parasitology, 22, 239–242.

Chilton, N.B. & Bull, C.M. (1992) The on-host temperature environment for two Australian reptile ticks. Australian Journal of Zoology, 40, 583–592.

Chilton, N.B., Bull, C.M. & Andrews, R.H. (1992a) Niche segregation in reptile ticks: attachment sites and reproductive success of females. Oecologia, 90, 255–259.

Chilton, N.B., Bull, C.M. & Andrews, R.H. (1992b) Differences in attachment site of the Australian reptile tick Amblyomma limbatum (Acari: Ixodidae) on two host species. International Journal for Parasitology, 22, 783–787.

Hayashi, F. & Hasegawa, M. (1984) Selective parasitism of the tick Ixodes asanumai (Acarina: Ixodidae) and its influence on the host lizard Eumeces okadae in Miyake-jima, Izu Islands. Applied Entomology and Zoology, 19, 181–191.

Hesse, G.H. (1985) Interstadial competition for sites of attachment to hosts in a one-host reptile tick in Senegal. Acarologia, 26, 355–359.

Kaiser, M.N., Sutherst, R.W. & Bourne, A.S. (1982) Relationship between ticks and Zebu cattle in southern Uganda. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 14, 63–74.

Petney, T.N. & Al Yaman, F. (1985) Attachment sites of the tortoise tick Hyalomma aegyptium in relation to tick density and physical condition of the host. Journal of Parasitology, 71, 287–289.

Satrawaha, R. & Bull, C.M. (1981) The area occupied by an omnivorous lizard, Trachydosaurus rugosus. Australian Wildlife Research, 8, 435–442.

Sharrad, R.D. (1977) Studies of factors which determine the parapatric distributions of three species of South Australian reptile ticks. Ph.D. thesis, University of Adelaide, Adelaide.

Smyth, M. (1973) The distribution of three species of reptile ticks, Aponomma hydrosauri (Denny), Amblyomma albolimbatum Neumann and Amblyomma limbatum Neumann. I. Distribution and hosts. Australian Journal of Zoology, 21, 91–101.



Copyright Systematic and Applied Acarology Society
Last updated 10 Sept 2007
 Natural History Museum is acknowledged for hosting these pages. Please read the Disclaimer.