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I need to collect fresh samples of African Ixodes, and if possible include some specimens from outside of Africa. The genus is in need of a modern treatment. So I will look into a revision/key as well as their phylogenetics/evolution and distribution modeling, niche characterisation etc...
I would like to request aid in tick sampling for my PhD on Ixodes ticks systematics, phylogenetics and biogeography.
I need to collect fresh samples of African Ixodes, and if possible include some specimens from outside of Africa. The genus is in need of a modern treatment. So I will look into a revision/key as well as their phylogenetics/evolution and distribution modeling/niche characterisation etc...
Seeing as this may be a bit of an ambitious project in terms of sampling, and that I would like to cover the group as comprehensively as possible, I would like to request the help of other scientists and friends to aid me in sampling fresh Ixodes ticks into absolute ethanol wherever said person may go.
I’ve attached some photos from Google images of various adult Ixodes ticks as well as one to roughly depict their general habitat type. I am looking for these in particular, but any fresh african tick material for DNA analysis is sorely lacking, so any indigenous tick will go a long way for future work. Back to Ixodes... Note the long mouthparts in the female (shorter dorsal shield) and the inornate shield in both sexes, some females are particularly hairy but not all Ixodes species are that hairy. Immatures are often found on rodents and hares, and adults can be commonly found on buck, birds and small carnivores. Also, some species are specific to bats. These ticks generally seem to like moist habitats and are often found in thick bush or forests, and along rivers.
I'm going to need any ticks in absolute ethanol for DNA material, with a pencil label for the locality, co-ordinates, collecting date, host (and attachment site) or vegetation type, and collector name. The specimens may be pooled in collection bottles by locality and date, I will sort species out, but I'd like to request that the total amount of ticks in a single collection bottle should not be more than 50% of the bottle. This is to allow for adequate preservation of the genetic material by having sufficient alcohol volume to properly absorb fluid from the specimens. Additionally, if you are willing, changing the alcohol after the first week or so will greatly aid in DNA preservation.
I want to stress that this collecting effort should be considered opportunistic and by no means do I want it to distract from your own work. This is a broad study, but even a single sample will contribute meaningfully.
Thanks in advance for any willingness to help me out on this project. Additionally, please contact me if there is anything I can collect for you in the field or try to identify, tick or otherwise. One hand washes the other.
Deon K. Bakkes
Tick Systematics - Junior Researcher