Journal article

Tick Paralysis in Spectacled Flying-Foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) in North Queensland, Australia: Impact of a Ground-Dwelling Ectoparasite Finding an Arboreal Host

Petra G Buettner, David A Westcott, Jennefer Maclean, Lawrence Brown, Adam McKeown, Ashleigh Johnson, Karen Wilson, David Blair, Jonathan Luly, Lee Skerratt, Reinhold Muller, Richard Speare



When a parasite finds a new wildlife host, impacts can be significant. In the late 1980s populations of Spectacled Flying-foxes (SFF) (Pteropus conspicillatus), a species confined, in Australia, to north Queensland became infected by paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus), resulting in mortality. This Pteropus-tick relationship was new to Australia. Curiously, the relationship was confined to several camps on the Atherton Tableland, north Queensland. It was hypothesised that an introduced plant, wild tobacco (Solanum mauritianum), had facilitated this new host-tick interaction. This study quantifies the impact of tick paralysis on SFF and investigates the relationship with climate. Retrospective..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

This study was supported by a collaborative research grant from James Cook University, Townsville, Australia. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.