Abstract

In natural wildlife populations, parasite–host interactions are common ecological phenomena that can be important to community structure. We assessed the prevalence of tick infestation on pancake tortoises, Malacochersus tornieri, with respect to location (inside vs. outside Tarangire National Park [TNP]), tortoise age class, sex, season, site of attachment, and body condition index (BCI). Malacochersus tornieri hosted Amblyomma nuttalli, the tick that also parasitizes other sub-Saharan tortoises of the family Testudinidae. Using a generalized linear mixed model, we found tick infestation to be lower inside TNP than sites set outside TNP. Further, tick prevalence was positively correlated with carapace length and negatively so with BCI. Although observation of ticks siphoning M. tornieri from the carapace was infrequent, the observed rate was, nevertheless, higher than reported from other terrestrial tortoises in sub-Saharan Africa. These results are discussed.

You do not currently have access to this content.