What are the natural enemies of ticks?

20.5.2018, 32 231 přečtení, 25 komentář Garden defence Native enemies

Ticks are a natural part of the ecosystem they live in. They are firmly integrated into this system and have important ecological roles. Their parasitic way of life does not protect them from their natural enemies. Many species feed on ticks.

Just like any other organism, ticks can be affected by diseases. Ticks can be infected by various microorganisms including bacteria, yeasts or fungi. Some protozoans and worms invade ticks to procreate inside of them, killing them in the process. On the right, a tick infected by the fungi Metarhizium anisopliae is depicted. This fungus is a promising candidate for biological control of tick overgrowth. 


Mravenci napadající klíště

Another big group of natural tick enemies are insects. Ticks that are full of blood and ready to molt or lay eggs are at the biggest risk of insect predation. Ants, spiders, predatory beetles, but also flying insects such as various types of predatory dragonflies, flies or wasps all like to feed on ticks.The picture above shows a tick attacked by two ants, who will transport it to the colony as a food source.


Pavouk - skákavka

A flying Hymenoptera, a wasp of the genus Ixodiphagus (species Ixodiphagus hookeri) is a very successful predator of ticks. The wasp is only several milimeters in lenght and lays its eggs inside tick larvae, which become a food source after the wasp larvae hatch.


Ticks also have enemies between amphibians and reptiles.They become prey of frogs and lizards, either when waiting for a host or after the feeding.


Birds are as well a big threat to ticks. Most Galliformes (chicken-like birds) are tick-eaters. The helmeted guineafowl is the most effective tick predator abroad, in the Czech Republic it is hens, pheasants, partridges and other chicken-like birds. However, birds mainly eat the larger ticks (nymphs and adults).


Birds often pick attached ticks directly from cattle. The beatiful african Yellow-billed oxpecker can pick hundreds of ticks a day from the backs of buffalos (picture above). The cattle egret is another efficient tick picker, as well as other bird species with the same feeding habits. 

Tick also have some mammalian enemies, mainly small rodents, who remove attached ticks by biting them out of each others furs.


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