The species composition and seasonal incidence of ticks on two species of monkeys (Presbytis entellus and Macaca radiata) occurring in the Kyasanur Forest disease (KFD) epizootic area of Shimoga District, Mysore State, India, are presented.
The bulk of the ticks were larvae or nymphs even though a substantial number of monkeys were examined during the monsoon when adults are prevalent on vegetation in the forest. The dominant genus of ticks on monkeys was Haemaphysalis and the commonest species, H. spinigera, from which KFD virus has repeatedly been isolated. Altogether, 9 of the 14 species of Haemaphysalis known from the area were found on monkeys. Other genera taken were Dermacentor, Amblyomma, Ixodes and Rhipicephalus.
There was a wide seasonal variation in the infestation rate of monkeys, with a peak in November when ticks (predominantly larvae) were found on almost all monkeys, and a period during the monsoon from June to September when ticks were rare or absent on monkeys.
In a series of monkeys collected in approximately equal numbers in each month of the year, mixed infestations of Haemaphysalis spinigera larvae and nymphs were found on individual hosts during November, December and January.
The Virus Research Centre is jointly maintained by the Indian Council of Medical Research and The Rockefeller Foundation.