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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications / Rhipicephalus appendiculatus and R. zambeziensis (Acari: Ixodidae) from Zambia: A molecular reassessment of their species status and identification

J.a Mtambo, M.b Madder, W.c Van Bortel, D.b Berkvens and T.d Backeljau (2007)

Rhipicephalus appendiculatus and R. zambeziensis (Acari: Ixodidae) from Zambia: A molecular reassessment of their species status and identification

Experimental and Applied Acarology, 41(1-2):115-128.

The closely related species Rhipicephalus appendiculatus and R. zambeziensis co-occur in a wide area in Zambia. In this area, specimens of both species have been collected on the same individual host at the same time. In addition, specimens that are morphologically intermediate between R. appendiculatus and R. zambeziensis have been found in this area. These observations cast some doubt on the species status of R. appendiculatus and R. zambeziensis. Because the two taxa have varied influences on the epidemiology of East Coast fever (ECF), a cattle disease for which they act as vectors, it is essential that their taxonomic status is clarified and their identification is accurate. Therefore a phylogenetic analysis of nucleotide sequences of the ITS2 and a fragment of the mitochondrial 12S rDNA was performed to reassess the specific status of both taxa. This revealed two well supported clades coinciding with R. appendiculatus and R. zambeziensis as two separate species. In order to facilitate species identification a PCR-RFLP diagnostic assay was developed based on BauI digestion of the ITS2 gene. This assay produced clear diagnostic banding patterns for the two species and is applicable over a wide range of both species' distribution. © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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