Title:Molecular analyses of badger ectoparasites from Ireland
Cullen, Siobhán Alice
Ectoparasites are economically important, because they may cause production loss, anaemia and discomfort to their hosts. Apart from this, blood-sucking arthropod ectoparasites can transmit so-called vector-borne pathogens from one host to another. In this study, Ireland was selected for sampling, taking into account that on islands the genetic background of ectoparasites and the spectrum of pathogens they may harbour are expected to be different from those in mainland Europe. Badgers were chosen as target animals, because they (and thus their ectoparasites) are not regularly transported between Ireland and other parts of Europe. In 2017 and 2018, the following ectoparasites have been collected from badgers in Ireland: 231 ticks, 73 fleas and 115 lice. Additionally, 131 ticks have been removed from hedgehogs, for comparison with those from badgers. The species of ectoparasites were identified according to standard keys.