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Keywords:

  • Ticks;
  • Rhipicephalus appendiculatus;
  • mortality indices;
  • density-dependence;
  • satellite imagery;
  • Africa

Abstract. Eight sets of previously published data on the seasonal abundance of the tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus in Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are analysed to yield seasonal mortality indices. Correlations between these indices and abiotic (climatic) and biotic (tick density) variables suggest that it is the stage from females to larvae that is most sensitive to adverse abiotic conditions, specifically low moisture availability. Mortality at the other stages of the tick's life cycle is strongly density-dependent. The precise nature of this density-dependence suggests that it may be caused by acquired resistance to ticks by cattle. Robust correlations between satellite-derived vegetation indices, climatic factors and mortality indices suggest that detailed climatic data, often unavailable, may be replaced by satellite data, now widely available, for use in modelling tick populations.