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Open AccessArticle

Ecological Niche Models of Four Hard Tick Genera (Ixodidae) in Mexico

1
Tecnológico de Monterrey, Escuela de Ingeniería y Ciencias, Centro de Bioingeniería, Queretaro 76130, Mexico
2
Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Queretaro 76230, Mexico
3
Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(4), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040649
Received: 11 February 2020 / Revised: 7 April 2020 / Accepted: 7 April 2020 / Published: 9 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Ecology and Conservation)
Vector-borne diseases currently represent a significant threat to public health, mainly due to the changes that humans are producing in ecosystems and climates. Analyzing the environmental conditions that allow the establishment and survival of ticks could help determine possible sites for the appearance of infectious outbreaks. In this study, nine ecological niche models were generated from different algorithms to determine the current potential distribution of four tick genera in Mexico. Temperature and moisture have been considered as the main factors limiting tick distribution. However, the analysis of the ecological niche models determined that the four genera exhibited different distribution patterns, which may be associated with their physiological and ecological differences. This type of analysis can improve our understanding of the dynamics of ticks and, therefore, can be very useful in monitoring programs of the diseases they transmit.
Ticks are vectors of a large number of pathogens of medical and veterinary importance, and in recent years, they have participated in the rise of multiple infectious outbreaks around the world. Studies have proposed that temperature and precipitation are the main variables that limit the geographical distribution of ticks. The analysis of environmental constraints with ecological niche modeling (ENM) techniques can improve our ability to identify suitable areas for emergence events. Algorithms used in this study showed different distributional patterns for each tick genera; the environmental suitability for Amblyomma includes warm and humid localities below 1000 m above the sea level, while Ixodes is mainly associated with ecosystems with high vegetation cover. Dermacentor and Rhipicephalus genus presented wider distribution patterns; the first includes species that are well adapted to resist desiccation, whereas the latter includes generalist species that are mostly associated with domestic hosts in Mexico. Ecological niche models have proven to be useful in estimating the geographic distribution of many taxa of ticks. Despite our limited knowledge of tick’s diversity, ENM can improve our understanding of the dynamics of vector-borne diseases and can assist public health decision-making processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: Amblyomma; Dermacentor; Ixodes; Rhipicephalus; ecological niche modelling Amblyomma; Dermacentor; Ixodes; Rhipicephalus; ecological niche modelling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Clarke-Crespo, E.; Moreno-Arzate, C.N.; López-González, C.A. Ecological Niche Models of Four Hard Tick Genera (Ixodidae) in Mexico. Animals 2020, 10, 649. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040649

AMA Style

Clarke-Crespo E, Moreno-Arzate CN, López-González CA. Ecological Niche Models of Four Hard Tick Genera (Ixodidae) in Mexico. Animals. 2020; 10(4):649. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040649

Chicago/Turabian Style

Clarke-Crespo, Emilio; Moreno-Arzate, Claudia N.; López-González, Carlos A. 2020. "Ecological Niche Models of Four Hard Tick Genera (Ixodidae) in Mexico" Animals 10, no. 4: 649. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040649

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