The life cycle of the tick Amblyomma loculosum in a sooty tern Sterna fuscata colony in the Seychelles


Prof. C. J. Feare, 2 North View Cottages, Grayswood Common, Haslemere, Surrey, GU27 2DN


An infestation of a sooty tern colony on Bird Island, Seychelles, with the ixodid tick Amblovomma loculosum was studied during visits to the colony in 1993 to 1995. During the infestation, adult ticks were numerous during the birds' incubation, larvae were abundant when young chicks were present, and there was some evidence that nymphs were found when older chicks were present. The life cycle of the tick appeared closely synchronized with that of its host. Following a breeding failure of the sooty terns, caused by adverse weather in August-September 1994, few adult ticks were found during the birds' breeding season of 1995, suggesting that the absence of chicks late in the 1994 breeding season led to starvation of the ticks and their failure to survive their diapause until the onset of the birds' next breeding season.