New tick species discovered on Iberian Peninsula

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bites from tick species

Researchers from the University of Zaragoza have discovered a new species of tick living on the Iberian Peninsula. The species, named Rhipicephalus hibericus, was identified during a survey of specimens collected in natural areas along the Ebro River, close to the La Cartuja Baja district of Zaragoza.

This discovery is an important step forward in the fight against diseases transmitted by these parasites.

Spread

Rhipicephalus hibericus occurs in Spain, Portugal and the south of France. In the early stages of their lives, these ticks attach themselves to small mammals such as mice, later moving as adults to larger animals such as foxes, wild boars, deer and sheep. The study, published in the journal Ticks and Tick-borne Diseases, was conducted by researchers from the Agrofood Institute of Aragon (IA2) in collaboration with the Department of Animal Pathology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Zaragoza.

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Importance of correct classification of tick species

The correct taxonomic classification of ticks is crucial for controlling the diseases they transmit. Previously, this tick was misidentified as a species from the other side of the Mediterranean. The field research was financially supported by the Government of Aragon. The researchers showed that these ticks are mainly active in the spring and play an important role in the transmission of diseases to both animals and humans.

Continuous research and education

The research team is currently working on describing other characteristics of the species. This includes the life cycle, the hosts and the pathogens it can transmit. They are also involved in scientific extension activities. Moreover, they want to increase awareness about the importance of preventing tick bites in people and animals.

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