Seasonal migration of passerine birds between temperate North America and tropical Central and South America is an ecological phenomenon. Migration of birds has been associated with the introduction of ectoparasites like ticks or tick-borne pathogens across the avian migration routes. In this study, the microbial diversity was determined in the ticks and bird DNA samples using 454 pyrosequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA gene. Tick DNA samples showed the dominance of genera Lactococcus, Francisella, Raoultella, Wolbachiaand Rickettsia across all the ticks, but birds DNA did not share common microbial diversity with ticks. Furthermore, “Candidatus Rickettsia amblyommii” infection in the 91 ticks collected off the songbirds was also quantified by qPCR assay. Interestingly, “Candidatus R. amblyommii” was tested positive in 24 ticks (26% infection), and infection varied from as low as three copies to thousands of copies, but bird blood samples showed no amplification. Our results provide evidence that songbirds serve as transport carrier for immature ticks, and less likely to be a reservoir for “Candidatus R. amblyommii”.
Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases
(2017). The Microbiome of Neotropical Ticks Parasitizing On Passerine Migratory Birds. Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, 8(1), 170-173.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/15355