This investigation examines multiple paternity in Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae). Previous studies have shown that multiple mating occurs in this tick, but this is the first evaluation of multiple paternity. Three family groups were examined by a panel of polymorphic microsatellite loci; all ticks were bred from wild-collected engorged females with a copulating male attached. For most larvae, the attached males could be excluded as possible sire, and in the 3 tested families, at least 2 of 3 females mated successfully with more than 1 male. This finding suggests that multiple paternity is a common reproductive strategy in I. ricinus, which may have consequences for the ticks' dispersal success by increasing the genetic diversity in broods from single females colonizing new sites.

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