Ticks and the city: Ectoparasites of the Northern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus) in an urban park

Gábor Földvári, Krisztina Rigó, Mónika Jablonszky, Nóra Biró, Gábor Majoros, Viktor Molnár, Mária Tóth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) is known to host several ectoparasites and also tick-borne pathogens, but there is scant information on its eastern relative, the Northern white-breasted hedgehog (Erinaceus roumanicus). We have studied an urban population of E. roumanicus in a city park of central Budapest, Hungary, for 2 years to investigate their tick and flea species. A total of 5063 ticks and 818 fleas were collected from 247 hedgehogs (including 46 recaptures). Ectoparasite prevalence and intensity differed significantly (p<. 0.001) between the 2 study years attributable to the enhanced tick removal rate due to anaesthesia used in the second year. The most common tick species was Ixodes ricinus (93.7%) followed by unidentified Ixodes larvae (5%). Only 57 hedgehog ticks (I. hexagonus) were removed from 22 hedgehogs. One I. acuminatus and one Hyalomma marginatum nymph were also collected. Mean intensity of tick infestation was 26.5 (range: 0-155 ticks/host) and mean intensity of flea infestation was 6.6 (range: 0-78 fleas/host). Most fleas (99.4%) collected were hedgehog fleas (Archaeopsylla erinacei), dog fleas (Ctenocephalides canis) were found on 2 hedgehogs. Hyalomma marginatum has previously not been found in Hungary, and I. acuminatus was only reported sporadically before. The large number of ectoparasites and the 2 imported tick species may thus survive in close proximity to humans if hedgehogs are present. This calls attention to the risk of possible tick-borne human infections that urban hedgehogs can pose.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-234
Number of pages4
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2011

Keywords

  • Erinaceus roumanicus
  • Fleas
  • Hyalomma marginatum
  • Ixodes acuminatus
  • Ticks
  • Urban hedgehogs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases

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