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Publication type: Journal Article
Document type: Full Paper

Year: 2016

Author(s): Walter, M; Brugger, K; Rubel, F

Title: The ecological niche of Dermacentor marginatus in Germany.

Source: Parasitol Res. 2016; 115(6):2165-2174

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Brugger Katharina
Rubel Franz
Walter Melanie

Vetmed Research Units
Institute of Food Safety, Food Technology and Veterinary Public Health, Unit of Veterinary Public Health and Epidemiology

The ixodid tick Dermacentor marginatus (Sulzer, 1776) is endemic throughout southern Europe in the range of 33-51 (°) N latitude. In Germany, however, D. marginatus was exclusively reported in the Rhine valley and adjacent areas. Its northern distribution limit near Giessen is located at the coordinates 8.32 (°) E/50.65 (°) N. Particularly with regard to the causative agents of rickettsioses, tularemia, and Q fever, the observed locations as well as the potential distribution of the vector D. marginatus in Germany are of special interest. Applying a dataset of 118 georeferenced tick locations, the ecological niche for D. marginatus was calculated. It is described by six climate parameters based on temperature and relative humidity and another six environmental parameters including land cover classes and altitude. The final ecological niche is determined by the frequency distributions of these 12 parameters at the tick locations. Main parameters are the mean annual temperature (frequency distribution characterized by the minimum, median, and maximum of 6.1, 9.9, and 12.2 (°)C), the mean annual relative humidity (73.7, 76.7, and 80.9 %), as well as the altitude (87, 240, 1108 m). The climate and environmental niche is used to estimate the habitat suitability of D. marginatus in Germany by applying the BIOCLIM model. Finally, the potential spatial distribution of D. marginatus was calculated and mapped by determining an optimal threshold value of the suitability index, i.e., the maximum of sensitivity and specificity (Youden index). The model performance is expressed by AUC = 0.91.

Keywords Pubmed: Altitude
Q Fever/epidemiology*
Q Fever/microbiology
Q Fever/parasitology
Rickettsia Infections/epidemiology*
Rickettsia Infections/microbiology
Rickettsia Infections/parasitology
Tick-Borne Diseases/epidemiology*
Tick-Borne Diseases/microbiology
Tick-Borne Diseases/parasitology

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