Title

Exploring Questing Behavior Differences of Ixodes scapularis Nymphs

Presenting Author Name/s

Hannah Cummins

Faculty Advisor

Holly Gaff

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Biology | Entomology

Description/Abstract

Borrelia burgdorferi is the causative agent of Lyme disease and is transmitted by the tick species, Ixodes scapularis. In Virginia, Lyme disease is more common in the northern and western portions of the state than in the southeastern portion. Little is known to explain this variation, but it is hypothesized that southeastern I. scapularis nymphs quest lower in the vegetation. In this study, I. scapularis nymphs from the Hampton Roads area and Northern Virginia area were placed in self-contained arenas in a wooded area and observed in the morning and evening two days per week for twelve weeks. An additional hypothesis investigated the effects of age on questing behavior of I. scapularis nymphs. It was found that population origin did explain variation in observed level of activity, and as hypothesized, the northern population was found more active. The old and new populations were not significantly distinct in activity. These results indicate a difference in geographic risk of Lyme disease based on I. scapularis behavior, and thus those who live in the western and northern portions of Virginia do have a greater risk of encountering an I. scapularis nymph and thus contracting Lyme disease.

Session Title

Biological Sciences 2

Location

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Conference Room 1310

Start Date

2-2-2019 10:15 AM

End Date

2-2-2019 11:15 AM

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Feb 2nd, 10:15 AM Feb 2nd, 11:15 AM

Exploring Questing Behavior Differences of Ixodes scapularis Nymphs

Learning Commons @ Perry Library Conference Room 1310

Borrelia burgdorferi is the causative agent of Lyme disease and is transmitted by the tick species, Ixodes scapularis. In Virginia, Lyme disease is more common in the northern and western portions of the state than in the southeastern portion. Little is known to explain this variation, but it is hypothesized that southeastern I. scapularis nymphs quest lower in the vegetation. In this study, I. scapularis nymphs from the Hampton Roads area and Northern Virginia area were placed in self-contained arenas in a wooded area and observed in the morning and evening two days per week for twelve weeks. An additional hypothesis investigated the effects of age on questing behavior of I. scapularis nymphs. It was found that population origin did explain variation in observed level of activity, and as hypothesized, the northern population was found more active. The old and new populations were not significantly distinct in activity. These results indicate a difference in geographic risk of Lyme disease based on I. scapularis behavior, and thus those who live in the western and northern portions of Virginia do have a greater risk of encountering an I. scapularis nymph and thus contracting Lyme disease.