Souza, U. A., Webster, A., Dall’Agnol, B., Peters, F. B., Favarini, M. O., Schott, D., Zitelli, L. C., Mazim, F. D., Kasper, C. B., Ott, R., Trigo, T. C., Reck, J., & Soares, J. F. (2021). Ticks, mites, fleas, and vector-borne pathogens in free-ranging neotropical wild felids from southern Brazil. Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases, 12(4), 101706.
The study of vectors and vector-borne diseases associated with ectoparasites from free-living Neotropical small wild felids is scarce, and the few existing studies on this theme focused on the genus Panthera, Paleartic species or in captive animals. For this reason, the aim of this study was to identify the diversity of ectoparasites and potentially associated Rickettsia and Bartonella species in free-ranging neotropical wild cats collected in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil. A total of 82 ticks, 10 fleas and 22 mites were collected from 18 Geoffroy’s cats (Leopardus geoffroyi), 11 margays (Leopardus wiedii), two southern tiger cats (Leopardus guttulus), two jaguarundis (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), three ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) and two pumas (Puma concolor). We identified four tick species: Rhipicephalus microplus and three species from genus Amblyomma, the most frequent being Amblyomma aureolatum; three flea species corresponding to Ctenocephalides felis, Xenopsylla cheopis, and Pulex irritans; and one mite of genus Eutrombicula. In ectoparasites we found DNA of Rickettsia parkeri and Rickettsia asembonensis in ticks and DNA of Bartonella clarridgeiae, Bartonella sp. and R. asembonensis in fleas. Our results highlight the evidences of vectors and vector-borne agents in wild animals, and their potential wide distribution in the Pampa biome and the southernmost portion of the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil.