Merck Manual

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Argas spp


Michael L. Levin

, PhD, Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Last full review/revision May 2015 | Content last modified May 2015

Most of the 57 known Argas spp are specific for birds or bats; a few parasitize wild terrestrial mammals or Galapagos giant tortoises. A persicus (the fowl or poultry tick) is an important poultry pest worldwide in warm climates. A miniatus (the South American chicken tick) and A radiatus (the North American bird tick) can present a problem for traditional or outdoor poultry operations from Caribbean to Central America and from Caribbean to North America, respectively. The species of importance in transmitting Aegyptianella pullorum and Borrelia anserina to poultry are A persicus (many tropical and subtropical areas of the world), A arboreus (much of Africa, including Egypt), A africolumbae (tropical Africa), A walkerae (southern Africa), and A miniatus (South and Central America). Other species that infest poultry appear to transmit both A pullorum and B anserina. (Also see Fowl Ticks.) Tick paralysis is caused by feeding A persicus, A arboreus, A walkerae, A miniatus, A radiatus, and A sanchezi (USA). These and other Argas spp can cause great irritation when feeding on people.

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