History of Ixodes Scapularis in the NorthEast 
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 History of Ixodes Scapularis in the NorthEast

The History of Ixodes scapularis
in the Northeast

       Blacklegged ticks were first collected in New England in the
early 1920's from Naushon Island, Massachusetts. Only scattered
collections of individual I. scapularis were recorded elsewhere in New
England for the next 30 years. Throughout the 1930's, researchers
continued to collected I. scapularis on Naushon Island, but not from
any other locations. On the nearby islands of Nantucket and Martha's
Vineyard, a similar tick species, I. muris, was abundant but not found
on Naushon Island. The collections of Hertig and Smiley (1937) confirm
this distribution of I. scapularis and I. muris. Ixodes scapularis was
first reported from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the early 1940's.

        During the late 1950's, localized infestations of blacklegged
ticks were reported elsewhere along coastal New England. Hyland and
Mathewson (1961) collected I. scapularis from Prudence Island, Rhode
Island, and from nearby locations around Narragansett Bay. Similar to
early records on Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, collections from
Block Island contained only I. muris. At that time, white-tailed deer
were also absent from Block Island. A decade later an extensive study
reported the presence of I. scapularis on the eastern tip of Long
Island, New York, in 1971. Collection records during the 1970's
indicate that I. scapularis was now present in scattered sites
throughout the Northeast. The larger islands along the New England
coast were infested. Ixodes scapularis was also established at coastal
mainland sites. Wallis et al. (1978) reported an infestation around the
mouth of the Connecticut River. Most of eastern Long Island was
infested, as was coastal New Jersey. Furthermore, infestations were
first recognized in northwestern Wisconsin and from Long Point, Ontario
in Canada.

        Spielman et al. (1979) revised the taxonomic status of I.
scapularis in the northeastern United States when they described I.
dammini as a new species. The basis for separation from I. scapularis
was based primarily on nine different morphological features,
especially in the nymphal stage. Ixodes scapularis had a distribution
extending southward to include most of the southeastern United States.
However, with the {*filter*} of I. dammini, many of the northern I.
scapularis identifications were thought to have been mis-identified I.
dammini or I. muris. However, many of the early records of I. muris in
New England were also considered to be mis-identified I. dammini.
Recently (Oliver et al. 1993), I. dammini has been relegated to a
junior subjective synonym of I. scapularis. This decision was based
principally on breeding and morphometric experiments between northern
populations of I. dammini and southern populations of I. scapularis.

        Throughout the 1980's, the recognition and increasing incidence
of Lyme disease fueled research of I. scapularis and its distribution
now includes much of th eNortheast. Ixodes scapularis was discovered in
a nature preserve in Ipswich, Massachusetts and several other mainland
locations in southeastern Massachusetts. Furthermore, between 1985 and
1989 the number of counties in New York with documented I. scapularis
increased from 4 to 22. Also, there are well-established infestations
of blacklegged ticks throughout much of Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey,
New York and Rhode Island, especially in southern and coastal areas.



Mon, 12 May 2008 11:48:09 GMT
 History of Ixodes Scapularis in the NorthEast
This is very interesting.  Sometimes the records of a species, whether
plant or animal, show only where someone has looked for these things,
not necessarily all the places they could be found.  But it does seem
to be the case that the range is expanding too.


Thu, 15 May 2008 01:35:14 GMT
 
 [ 2 post ] 

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