Phylogenetic analyses of Ixodes rugicollis with notes on its morphology in comparison with Ixodes cornutus - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Parasites & Vectors Year : 2023

Phylogenetic analyses of Ixodes rugicollis with notes on its morphology in comparison with Ixodes cornutus


Background The subgenus Pholeoixodes contains Ixodes species typically associated with birds that nest in cavities or with carnivorous mammals that are burrow-dwelling. Among ticks infesting the latter, Ixodes rugicollis is regarded as the rarest species in the western Palearctic. Despite the unique morphology of this species, its identification (especially of subadult stages) is difficult, and molecular-phylogenetic data to offer other diagnostic methods and a better understanding of its taxonomy are not available. Methods In this study, a female and a male of I. rugicollis were collected in Romania. The female was compared morphologically to another female of this species collected in France and to the lectotype of Ixodes cornutus (from Tajikistan), which has similar morphology and host association. Following DNA extraction, two mitochondrial (cytochrome c oxidase subunit I: cox1 and the 16S rRNA gene) and two nuclear genetic markers (18S and 28S rRNA genes) of I. rugicollis were amplified and analyzed in a phylogenetic context. Results Females of I. rugicollis and I. cornutus differed in the shape of their palps, scutum and areae porosae and the size of peritremes, but they were similar in palpal setal length, dental formula and arrangement of anal setae. Measurements of two I. rugicollis females examined were not less different from each other than from I. cornutus . Phylogenetically, I. rugicollis clustered with other members of its subgenus. The topology of all trees showed the position of bat-associated tick species of the subgenus Eschatocephalus among Pholeoixodes species. Conclusions For the first time to our knowledge, this study provides high-resolution digital pictures of male and female I. rugicollis as well as corresponding molecular data. Morphological comparison of this species with I. cornutus could not resolve uncertainties in the validity of the latter species, which can only be accomplished after collecting new specimens of I. cornutus and consequent molecular comparisons. This study includes the first comprehensive molecular-phylogenetic analysis of western Palearctic Pholeoixodes species based on both nuclear and mitochondrial genetic markers and including I. rugicollis . The results of these confirm the phylogenetic position of subgenus Eschatocephalus within Pholeoixodes , justifying the need to merge them to comply with the taxonomic criterion of monophyly.

Dates and versions

hal-04060406 , version 1 (06-04-2023)





Sándor Hornok, Andrei Mihalca, Jenő Kontschán, Nóra Takács, Denis Fedorov, et al.. Phylogenetic analyses of Ixodes rugicollis with notes on its morphology in comparison with Ixodes cornutus. Parasites & Vectors, 2023, 16 (1), pp.106. ⟨10.1186/s13071-023-05718-z⟩. ⟨hal-04060406⟩
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