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Distribution of chigger mites (Acari: Trombiculidae) over hosts, parasitopes, collection localities, and seasons in northern Iran

Stekolnikov A.A., Shamsi M., Saboori A., Zahedi Golpayegani A., Hakimitabar M.

Experimental and Applied Acarology, 86: 21–47 [2021(2022)].


We studied the distribution of chigger mite species over mammal hosts, attachment sites on the host body, habitats, and seasons in Iran. The study was based on 2155 specimens of 36 chigger species collected from 10 species of Muridae, Cricetidae, and Soricidae across six provinces of northern Iran. A high level of mixed infestation by chiggers was recorded—76% of hosts parasitized by chiggers were infested by more than one (2–8) species. Statistically significant differences in the preference for anterior and posterior parts of the host body were found. Three species—Neotrombicula lubrica, N. delijani, and Cheladonta firdousii—preferred the posterior part of the host body; 12 species were characterized by the occurrence in the anterior part and differed from one another by the frequency of presence in the posterior part. One species, Hirsutiella alpina, was found only in the anterior part of the host body (inside the ears of rodents). The most diverse chigger fauna was on the fringe of Golestan National Park (species richness = 21, Shannon–Wiener index = 2.823). The chigger fauna of the high-mountain localities on the Alborz Range was the least diverse (species richness = 16, Shannon–Wiener index = 2.439). The seasonal aspect of activity was evident for Neotrombicula elegans, which exposed the autumn–winter period of the occurrence on hosts, and N. vernalis, with the winter-spring peak of abundance.

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