Date of Award

Summer 2013

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Shahid Karim

Committee Chair Department

Biological Sciences


Ticks are hematophagous arthropods and capable of inoculating various infectious agents to their vertebrate hosts. Ticks attached to birds and ruminants are capable of carrying tick-transmitted microorganisms. In our study, the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens was examined in ticks infesting migratory songbirds and Pakistani ruminants. During spring migration seasons, ticks were removed from northward-migrating songbirds in Louisiana and identified as Amblyomma Jongirostre, Amblyomma nodosum, Amb/yomma ca/caratum, Amblyomma maculatum, and Haemaphysalis species, all are considered as Neotropical ticks. Ticks removed from ruminants were identified as Hya/omma anatolicum, Hyalomma dromedarii, Rhipicephalus microplus, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus. A total of 112 and 72 bacterial genera identified in ticks and migratory songbirds respectively by using 454-based pyrosequencing. Taxonomic classification of ticks from ruminants reveals that the most predominant phylum was proteobacter in both Hyalomma spp. and firmicutes in Rhipicephalus microplus. The overall microbial diversity found highest in Rhipicephalus microplus (one-host tick), Hyalomma dromedarii (two-host tick), and Hyalomma anatolicum (three-host ticks). The prevalence of SFGR were determined by amplifying ompA (outer membrane protein A) gene. The nucleotide sequence of amplicons were homologous with several SFGR including Rickettsia amblyommii, was confirmed by ompB probe based qPCR assay. Rickettsia amblyommii was found predominant in Amb/yomma longirostre and Haemaphysalis species among the Neotropical tick species as well as most prevalent in ticks with the lowest microbial diversity and least prevalent in highest microbial diversity in the ticks from ruminants. Our results indicate a rich tick and microbial diversity of epidemiological roles infesting the migratory songbirds and ruminants in Pakistan.