Severud WJ and DelGiudice GD

Journal of Wildlife Diseases

Published date November 10, 2015

Potential Vertical Transmission of Winter Ticks (Dermacentor albipictus) from Moose (Alces americanus) Dams to Neonates

  • States North American moose (Alces americanus) have been known to experience intense infestations of winter ticks 
  • States infestations have averaged ~33,000 ticks/moose, with some individuals carrying >100,000 ticks 
  • States moose calves and yearlings may be more vulnerable than adults to the effects of ticks, perhaps contributing to population declines
  • Researchers documented the presence of adult winter ticks from neonates (baby moose), presumambly vertically transferred from dams (the mothers)
  • Results give the first report (to scientists' knowledge) of winter ticks infesting moose neonates
  • Results also give the first report of winter ticks switching hosts in free-ranging populations
  • States winter tick infestation of neonatal moose could result in life-long adverse effects on fitness if infestations are great enough to cause appreciable blood loss or pathogen transmission, leading to a possible demographic effect