• Ixodes scapularis;
  • Ixodes kingi;
  • Dermacentor;
  • Thomomys talpoides;
  • single strand conformation polymorphism;
  • Saskatchewan


Morphological examination of ticks feeding on northern pocket gophers, Thomomys talpoides, near Clavet (Saskatchewan, Canada) revealed the presence of two genera, Ixodes and Dermacentor. All adult ticks collected were identified as I. kingi. Single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analyses and DNA sequencing of the mitochondrial 16S rRNA gene confirmed the species identity of most Ixodes immatures as I. kingi (two nymphs and 82 larvae), and the Dermacentor immatures as D. variabilis (one nymph and one larva) and D. andersoni (three larvae). Six Ixodes larvae feeding on three T. talpoides individuals were identified as four different 16S haplotypes of I. scapularis, which was unexpected because there are no known established populations of this species in Saskatchewan. However, flagging for questing ticks and further examination of the ticks feeding on T. talpoides in two subsequent years failed to detect the presence of I. scapularis near Clavet, suggesting that there is no established population of I. scapularis in this area. Nonetheless, since I. scapularis is a vector of pathogenic agents, passive and active surveillance needs to be conducted in Saskatchewan on an ongoing basis to determine if this tick species and its associated pathogens become established within the province.