One ear of each of five cows on a property close to Dean Funes, province of Córdoba, Argentina, was inspected monthly from December 2004 to November 2006 to determine the presence of Otobius megnini (Dugès) and to ascertain its seasonality. Ticks were collected to study the biological parameters of larvae, nymphs and adult ticks. Groups of nymphs were also maintained at three different photoperiods at 25 degrees C. The abundance of immature stages was greatest during January-April and August-October in the first and second years of the study, respectively. No larvae successfully moulted. Nymphs weighing < 17 mg also failed to moult, but 89% of heavier nymphs moulted into adults. Nymphs moulting to males weighed less (49.5 +/- 16.09 mg) than nymphs moulting to females (98.1 +/- 34.08 mg). The pre-moult period was similar for nymphs moulting to either sex and significantly longer (P < 0.01) for female nymphs maintained at 25 degrees C compared with nymphs kept at 27 degrees C. No effect of photoperiod on the pre-moult periods of nymphs was detected. Female ticks produced a mean of 7.0 +/- 1.94 egg batches after a preoviposition period of 16.4 +/- 8.41 days for the first batch. The mean oviposition period was 61 +/- 20.8 days and the duration of oviposition for each batch varied from 1 to 6 days. The mean number of eggs per batch was 93.1 +/- 87.53. The minimum incubation period for the first egg batch was 13.6 +/- 2.77 days. The total number of eggs laid by each female was 651.6 +/- 288.90. Parthenogenesis was not observed. The reproductive efficiency index (REI) (number of eggs laid/weight of female in mg) was 5.5 +/- 1.26. Pearson's correlations showed a significant direct relationship between the weight of the female and number of eggs laid (P < 0.01) and REI (P < 0.05). Several of the biological values presented above for the tick population from the Neotropical zoogeographic region showed marked differences to equivalent values for O. megnini populations from the U.S.A. (Nearctic) and India (Oriental). Nevertheless, the only two sequences of 16S rDNA deposited in GenBank from ticks originating in Argentina and allegedly in the U.S.A. indicate that they are conspecific (99.8% agreement). We tentatively consider the biological differences among populations of this tick species to represent adaptations for survival at different conditions.
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