Title

Elevational Range Expansion Limitations of Ixodes affinis in Virginia

Presenting Author Name/s

Michelle Bershers

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Holly Gaff

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Biology | Entomology | Geology

Description/Abstract

Ixodes affinis is a hard-bodied tick known to be a vector of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent for Lyme Disease in humans. While this tick species do not bite humans, it is similar in many ways to Ixodes scapularis, such as shared hosts and habitats, that can result in the amplification of shared pathogens. Ixodes affinis was first reported in North Carolina in 2010 and southwestern Virginia in 2011. The Old Dominion University Tick Research Team started a project in 2012 to track the movement of this species in Virginia by conducting a comprehensive annual survey of 57 counties and cities. The project ended in 2017 with the discovery of I. affinis across Virginia and into southern Maryland. In analyzing this survey, we found that the locations in which I. affinis were found were restricted to the Coastal Plain and did not extend onto the Piedmont. Our original hypothesis was that the topographic break in elevation known as the Orangeburg Scarp is serving as a barrier to the westward expansion of I. affinis. In 2018, samples were taken from sites along the Orangeburg Scarp along both sides and at a variety of elevations. The results obtained from 2018 however, did not show a link between elevation and the presence of I. affinis. Further research is needed to understand the limitations of movement of I. affinis.

Session Title

Biological Sciences 1

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Conference Room 1310

Start Date

2-2-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

2-2-2019 10:00 AM

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Feb 2nd, 9:00 AM Feb 2nd, 10:00 AM

Elevational Range Expansion Limitations of Ixodes affinis in Virginia

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Conference Room 1310

Ixodes affinis is a hard-bodied tick known to be a vector of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent for Lyme Disease in humans. While this tick species do not bite humans, it is similar in many ways to Ixodes scapularis, such as shared hosts and habitats, that can result in the amplification of shared pathogens. Ixodes affinis was first reported in North Carolina in 2010 and southwestern Virginia in 2011. The Old Dominion University Tick Research Team started a project in 2012 to track the movement of this species in Virginia by conducting a comprehensive annual survey of 57 counties and cities. The project ended in 2017 with the discovery of I. affinis across Virginia and into southern Maryland. In analyzing this survey, we found that the locations in which I. affinis were found were restricted to the Coastal Plain and did not extend onto the Piedmont. Our original hypothesis was that the topographic break in elevation known as the Orangeburg Scarp is serving as a barrier to the westward expansion of I. affinis. In 2018, samples were taken from sites along the Orangeburg Scarp along both sides and at a variety of elevations. The results obtained from 2018 however, did not show a link between elevation and the presence of I. affinis. Further research is needed to understand the limitations of movement of I. affinis.