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Ticks of reptiles

Amblyomma marmoreum – South African tortoise tick

It is a very large tick with long, robust mouthparts. The conscutum and scutum are dull yellow to beige with dark-brown markings and numerous prominent, deep punctations.
All stages of development, especially the adults, feed on tortoises, and more particularly leopard tortoises, Geochelone pardalis. Adults very rarely parasitize domestic livestock, but the immature stages, especially larvae, are frequently encountered on these animals, as well as on wild carnivores and antelopes and also on scrub hares and on helmeted guineafowls and other ground-frequenting birds. On tortoises the ticks attach to the soft parts around the base of the legs and tail.
Amblyomma marmoreum is widespread in South Africa and Zimbabwe and is probably more prevalent in Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia than current records seem to indicate.
It is a three-host tick. On tortoises all stages remain attached for 2 to 7 weeks, or longer. The adults are most abundant during summer, the larvae from autumn to spring and nymphs from spring to summer. The life cycle may take longer than 1 year to complete.

Amblyomma sylvaticum

It is a small species of Amblyomma. The conscutum of the males is dark brown to nearly black with ivory colouring on its lateral edges. The female scutum is also dark-brown with ivory-coloured ornamentation particularly in the lateral fields and the eyes are surrounded by dark patches. Angulate tortoises (Chersina angulata) are the preferred hosts of Amblyomma sylvaticum, although other tortoise species may also be infested.

Amblyomma (previously Aponomma)

Amblyomma exornatum

It is a very small ornate tick. Mouthparts are long in relation to the small size of its body. It is an eyeless tick. The conscutum of males is oval to nearly circular in some specimens. Ornamentation on the male conscutum is in the form of nine iridescent green coppery to yellow markings on a dark-brown background. The female scutum is dark-brown with three patches of ornamentation, two laterally and one on the posterior field of the scutum. Amblyomma exornatum is a tick of varanid lizards and male ticks frequently cluster in the nostrils of these reptiles.

Amblyomma latum

It is a very small tick with long mouthparts. The tick is eyeless. The conscutum of the male is virtually circular in shape and uniformly brown. The female scutum is brown. Amblyomma latum is a tick that attaches under the scales of snakes.

Amblyomma transversale

It is a very small tick with long mouthparts. It is an eyeless tick. The conscutum of males are laterally oval and light-brown, seeming to cover only the first 4/5ths of the dorsal surface. A. transversale is a tick of pythons.

Ornithodoros compactus

It is a small soft tick or tampan infesting particularly Namaqualand speckled padloper tortoises, Homopus signatus signatus, in South Africa. Unlike the nymphs and adults of other Ornithodoros spp. many O. compactus may be present on their tortoise hosts.

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