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Modeling the Distribution of Medically Important Tick Species in Florida

1
Department of Geography, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
2
Department of Geography, Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2019, 10(7), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10070190
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 18 May 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 28 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tick Surveillance and Tick-borne Diseases)
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Abstract

The lone star (Amblyomma americanum), black-legged (Ixodes scapularis) and American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) are species of great public health importance as they are competent vectors of several notable pathogens. While the regional distributions of these species are well characterized, more localized distribution estimates are sparse. We used records of field collected ticks and an ensemble modeling approach to predict habitat suitability for each of these species in Florida. Environmental variables capturing climatic extremes were common contributors to habitat suitability. Most frequently, annual precipitation (Bio12), mean temperature of the driest quarter (Bio9), minimum temperature of the coldest month (Bio6), and mean Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) were included in the final models for each species. Agreement between the modeling algorithms used in this study was high and indicated the distribution of suitable habitat for all three species was reduced at lower latitudes. These findings are important for raising awareness of the potential for tick-borne pathogens in Florida. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ixodid ticks; distribution; geography; modeling; ensemble; niche; Lone star; Black-legged; American dog Ixodid ticks; distribution; geography; modeling; ensemble; niche; Lone star; Black-legged; American dog
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Kessler, W.H.; Ganser, C.; Glass, G.E. Modeling the Distribution of Medically Important Tick Species in Florida. Insects 2019, 10, 190.

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