Modeling the Argasid Tick Life Cycle

August 13, 2018, 2:20 PM - 2:40 PM


George Mason University

Fairfax, Research Hall, Room 163

Fairfax, VA

Gabriela Hamerlinck, University of Florida

This work presents the first mathematical models for the life cycle of Ornithodoros moubata, an argasid tick. Ornithodoros moubata is an important tick species throughout Africa and Europe and is a known vector for African swine fever (ASF), a catastrophically fatal disease for domesticated pigs in Africa and Europe. We present a continuous-time differential equation model that simplifies the tick life cycle to two stages, and a discrete-time difference equation model that uses four life cycle stages. Both models utilize two host types: small hosts and large hosts, which are representative of natural populations. The models find that either host type alone could support the tick population and that the final tick density is a function of host density. While both models predict similar tick equilibrium values, we observe significant differences in the time to equilibrium. The results demonstrate the likely establishment of these ticks if introduced into a new area even if there is only one type of host. These models provide the basis for developing future models that include disease states to explore infection dynamics and possible management of ASF.