ticks, one of the most important vectors and reservoirs of tick-borne diseases in Europe, are widespread in the temperate climate zone and in some localities in the subtropical climate zone of the western Palaearctic region. These ticks occur in a large area characterised by a varied climate type, vegetation, and availability of potential hosts. Hence, they exhibit high ecological plasticity and adaptability to periodically adverse conditions. The aim of the present study was to investigate the ability of D. reticulatus
adults to overwinter in the natural habitat. Specimens marked with a permanent oil marker on the festoons were placed in their natural habitats for the winter. Concurrently, tick survival in laboratory conditions at a temperature of 5 °C and 18 °C was assessed as a control. The groups were compared with each other by determination of the weight of fat bodies. In the field conditions, 67.9% females and 60.0% males survived the winter. There was no significant difference in the survival of ticks in the laboratory. A significantly lower fat body weight was found in the group of ticks overwintering in the field conditions and exhibiting questing activity between spring and late autumn during the following year. On the population scale, adult D. reticulatus
ticks are able to survive the winter in temperate climate conditions at a level ensuring a further increase in their population size. In adverse weather conditions, ticks enter diapause, thus maximally reducing the utilisation of the content of their fat bodies. This facilitates long-term survival in the environment.
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