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(Stewart 1933,1934). FRENCH WEST_AFRICA (Bouet 1909. Brumpt 1909B. Rousselot_1951,1953B). [ LIBERIA:
LIBERIA: Absence of A. persicus, Bequaert (1930). 7 PORTUGESE GUINEA (Tendeiro 1951€ ,1952A,C,D, 1953,1954).
CENTRAL AFRICA: CAMEROONS (Mohn 1909. Rageau 1953B). BEL GIAN CONGO and RUANDA_URUNDI (Ghesquiere 1919,1921A,B,1922,1928. Schwetz 1927A,B. Bequaert 193 0A,B,1931. Gillain 1935. Schoenaers 1951A). No records seen from French Equatorial Africa.
EAST AFRICA: SUDAN (Neumann 1901. As A. miniatus: Balfour 1906. Balfour 1906,1907, 1908B, 1909,1910,1911A,B,C,D,E,6,1912. Nuttall et al 1908. King 1908,1911,1921,1926. Archibald 1923. Tonelli Rondelli 1930A. de Beaurepaire Aragao 1936. Kirk 1938B. Hoogstraal 1954B).
ETHIOPIA (Neumann 1911). ERITREA (Franchini 1929. Niro 1935. Stella 1938A, 1939A, 1940. Ferro-Tuzzi 1948). BRITISH SOMALL LAND (Drake_Brockman 1913B,1920, Stella 1940). ITALIAN SOMALILAND (Brumpt 1909A. Paoli 1916. Franchini 1925,1929. Niro 1935. Stella 1938A ,1939A,1940).
KENYA (Anderson 1942A,B. Lewis 19310,1939A. Piercy 1948. Wiley 1953). UGANDA Mettam 1932 stated that A. persicus was then not yet reported, but_Wilson 19500 lists it as present). [ TANGA NYIKA: ? No records. 7
SOUTHERN AFRICA: ANGOLA (Howard 1908. Absence in San Salvador: Gamble 1914. Sousa Dias 1950. Bacelar 1950. Santos Dias 1950C). MOZAMBIQUE (Howard 1908,19090 ,1910. Theiler 1943B. Santos Dias 1953B,1954H).
"RHODESIA" (Robinson and Davidson 1913A). [ NORTHERN RHODESIA: ?No records. ) SOUTHERN RHODESIA (Little 1919,1920, Jack 1921, 1928,1937,1938,1942. Cooper 1944). NYASALAND (De Meza 1918A. Wilson 1950B).
SOUTHWEST AFRICA (Tromsdorff 1914. Sigwart 1915. Warburton 1921. Mitscherlich 1941. Schulze 1941). BECHUANALAND (As "tam pans': "J.G." 1943). UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA (Lounsbury 1895,1899B, 0,1900A,B,C,1903B, 1904D. Dönitz 1907 ,1910B. Howard 1908,1909, 1910. Nuttall et al 1908. Bourlay 1909.
Jowett 1910, Neumann
1911. Robinson and Davidson 1913A. Bedford 1920,1926,1927,1932B, 1934. Du Plessis 1932. Robinson and Coles 1932. Bedford and Coles 1933. Bedford and Graf 1934,1939. Mönnig and Coles 1934, 1936,1939,1940. Coles 1933,1945. Cooley 1934.
Cooley 1934. des Ligneris 1939. Mitscherlich 1941. R. du Toit 1942B,C,1947A,B. Gericke and Coles 1950. Annecke and Quinn 1952).
OUTLYING ISLANDS: MAURITIUS (As A. mauritianus: Guerin
ZANZIBAR: ?No records.
A. persicus in all stages is chiefly a parasite of chickens. Ducks, geese, turkeys, and infrequently pigeons, are attacked. This parasite often becomes so numerous in fowl houses that the birds die from exsanguination, Canaries are sometimes attacked, and in South Africa young ostrichs have been killed from the vol ume of blood lost to these ticks.
Wild birds may be infested if they construct large, numerous, or fairly permanent nests in the vicinity of human activities. The question of infestation of other wild birds and of mammals is a most uncertain one. Although the fowl argas does parasitize man on occasion, the frequency and fierceness of these attacks have been fancifully exaggerated and enhanced to the point that it might even seem advisable to exterminate Africa's chickens rather than subject mankind on this continent to the scourge of his fowls! argasid parasite.
Wild bird hosts
Rookeries of the buff-backed heron, Bubulcus ibis ibis, in parks in and near Cairo (Hoogstraal 1952A) and heron rookeries in South Africa are heavily infested (Theiler, correspondence). In the Nile Barrage Park near Cairo, literally tens of thousands of
fowl ticks in all stages can be found in crevices and under bark of any large fig tree in which herons roost and nest.
In Pakistan, Abdussalam and Sarwar (1953) found frequent para sitism of vultures and common herons in sixteen kinds of trees in which these birds nest. Other birds and palm squirrels also perch in these trees, but only a young kite was found infested. (Whether smaller birds and squirrels were examined for ticks is not clear from the report). On trees with relatively smooth bark and few cracks, ticks extended down the trunk almost to the ground, but on those with cracked bark they concentrated chiefly in the upper branches near the perches of their hosts. (In the Cairo area, rough berked trees harbor tremendous tick populations from near the roots to the crown). The incidence of ticks in trees harboring vultures and herons was much higher than it was in nearby chicken houses.
Specimens have occasionally been reported from isolated nests of wild birds and on ground birds such as quail. Howard (1908) recorded the secretary bird and Bedford (1934) the guinea fowl aś wild hosts. Theiler (unpublished) informs me of the following South African records: wattled crane, hadada ibis, and pelican. King (1926) reported the guinea fowl, buff_backed heron, and crow as wild hosts of the larval stage in the Sudan. Specimens from guinea fowl at Khartoum (SGC) probably came from zoological garden hosts.
Identification of larvae from wild birds that construct isolated nests and that do not live close to human habitations should be regarded with suspicion if these larvae have not been identified by a contemporary expert in argasids. Larvae of related species closely resemble those of A. persicus. Wild bird parasites are so poorly known that the presence of argasid larvae on them should be a hint to consider rare or poorly known tick species before con cluding definitely that those found are 4. persicus. The mouthparts of larvae pulled from birds are usually broken unless extreme cau tion is exercised and the body characters are frequently obscured by engorgement so that it is difficult to identify the material.
Wild Mammal Hosts
Apparently the only authentic report for the fowl tick from a wild mammal is a note of three adults from a Texas jack rabbit shot in 1906 (Hooker, Bishopp, and Wood 1912).
Domestic Mammal Hosts
Howell, Stiles, and Moe (1943) believe that A. persicus may feed on cattle more commonly than is generally suspected but reasons for this assumption are not presented. This tick has been vaguely reported from Persian animals (Aluimov 1935) and, on the basis of a museum specimen label, from cattle in the Congo (Schwetz 1927B). Hoffman (1930), apparently from personal information, sta ted that in Mexico A. persicus may bite animals and man in the ab sence of fowls. In the United Provinces of India, Sen (1938) listed this species "off dogl". Various workers have reported that they were unable to induce the fowl argas to feed on laboratory or domestic animals, or, if some blood was taken, the meal was only a partial one.
Authentic records of A. persicus attacking man in almost all instances stress the infrequency of such experiences. Reports in certain textbooks of medical entomology that the fowl tick is an important pest of man or even "a veritable scourge ....... in the Sudan and South Africa (1) are without the slightest foundation (see below).
In the Sudan, King (1926) reported, A. persicus rarely bites man. Several nymphs and adults in Sudan Government collections are labelled "from Yemenese man, Suakin, 7-3-09, 0. Atkey'. The inference is that the specimens were taken on the person. The numerous Kosti specimens already mentioned in Sudan records arouse suspicion that this species have been a pest in houses there at
time. My own inquiries in many parts of the Sudan and from reading a considerable number of travel, medical, and natural history reports of the Sudan have failed to reveal any indication that A. persicus is known as a human pest anywhere in the Sudan.
In South Africa, Bedford (1934) wrote, A. persicus seldom at tacks man. Lounsbury (19000 ,1903B) recorded a severe bite on a person in Graaff-Reinert, and stated that he had heard of two other persons who were bitten, but, especially in the former paper, he minimized the importance of A. persicus as a pest of people, as did Behr (1899) for California. “Howard (1909), however, heard of a South African cart that had been stored in an old infested chicken house; " no one was able to ride in it afterwards. In Southern Rhodesia, A. persicus is pre-eminently a fowl parasite (Jack 1921).
Drake_Brockman (1923B,1920) stated that this tick is found in or near huts in British Somaliland but that it does not bite man there. From the United Provinces of India, Sen (1938) noted A. persicus "on bed (presumably can infest man)". "This species was reported from Quetta (India) where it was stated to infest houses and to bite human beings (Warburton 1907). As stated above, Hoffman (1930), remarked that in Mexico A. persicus may bite man and animals in the absence of fowls, but details were not provided. In Korea, Kobayashi (1925) "examined certain specimens of Argas persicus
said to have stung men'".
old Iranian (Persian) reports that A. persicus is such a pest of human beings that whole villages have had to be moved, so wide ly quoted from Nuttall et al (1908) who reviewed the earlier literature, hardly bear contemporary repetition. The evidence in all cases is circumstantial and based on hearsay. That these fables should have gained the stature of serious fact in most books of medical entomology is a reflection on methods of textbook fact finding One writer has even gone so far as to throw in for good measure a large part of the African continent as a scourged area, Since 1890 there has been hardly a single published eyewitness or corroborated report of Argas persicus biting human beings that has not referred merely to isolated instances. Though some bites have been described as painful, only one or two have been shown to cause other sequelae.
Twentieth century Iran has not provided evidence to corrobom rate the early apparent misrepresentations concerning the fowl tick. Carre (1909), in reporting on the frequency of larval attacks on chickens in Teheran did not mention that man is attacked. Harold (1922) expressed the belief that Ornithodoros lahorensis Neumann is actually responsible for paintu bites attributed to A. persicus in Iran [cf. also Harold (1920). Dr. Baltazard, Direcm tor oi the Pasteur Institute in Teheran, an outstanding student of argasid ticks and of their disease relations, informs me that he knows of no troubles from A, persicus in Iran so far as human beings are concerned. Delpy (1947) observed large numbers of A. persicus and O. lahorensis in and around peasant houses and stables near Persepolis In Iran but he did not mention bites of either spe cies. Delpy and Kaweh (1937), however, record an actual observan tion in Iran of a laboratory person who, when washing his hands, noted a large nymphal fowl tick biting him. The bite was painless but the victim succumbed to a bout of anthrax, demonstrated to have been transmitted by the attack.