Argas (Persicargas) persicus (Oken, 1818) (Ixodida: Argasidae) in Sicily with considerations about its Italian and West-Mediterranean distributionArchived
Recently, in the province of Trapani (Western Sicily), some overwintering specimens of the argasid tick Argas (Persicargas) persicus (Oken, 1818) were observed and collected. Morphological and genetic analysis were utilized in order to reach a definitive identification.
Pantaleoni RA 1,2, Baratti M 1, Barraco L 3, Contini C 4, Cossu CS (1) Filippelli MT 1, Loru L 1, Romano M 5 (1) Istituto per lo Studio degli Ecosistemi, CNR, Traversa la Crucca 3, Regione Baldinca, 07100 Li Punti SS, Italia(2) Dipartimento di Protezione delle Piante, Università di Sassari, Italia(3) Paceco, Trapani, Italia(4) Dipartimento di Scienze Applicate ai Biosistemi, Sez. di Parassitologia, Università di Cagliari, Italia(5) Capaci, Palermo, ItaliaParasite Dec. 2010.17(4): 349-55.
Recently, in the province of Trapani (Western Sicily), some overwintering specimens of the argasid tick Argas (Persicargas) persicus (Oken, 1818) were observed and collected. Morphological and genetic analysis were utilized in order to reach a definitive identification. The species was found in two semi-natural sites where, having been found repeatedly, its presence does not appear accidental. Moreover the characteristics of the Sicilian findings seem to exclude a human-induced spread. This record, the first regarding Sicily and South Italy, is discussed together with the previous doubtful citations for Italy. These findings revalue not only all the old citations for Italy but also the hypothesis that the Mediterranean distribution of this argasid is of a natural origin.
VBORNET comment: 2011-05-17
Pantaleoni et al. provide an update on the distribution of Argas persicus in Italy. Until now, this species was considered absent from this country, except for a historical record in Trieste very near to the oriental boundary with the Balkans. All other records were attributed to misidentifications, considering the large changes in the Argas taxonomy during these last fifty years. The recent finding of Argas persicus in Sicily and its presence in other neighbouring countries confirm that its Mediterranean distribution is of natural origin and not only due to human-induced spread. Considering the revival of more biological agricultural practices in many industrial countries, this tick species could be more frequently encountered in the next future. However, this might have minor consequences for public health since A. persicus is only known to transmit avian pathogens and is considered rather a pest for human through irritant and hurting tick bite.