Acta Parasitologica, Vol. 52, No. 2, 2007, 165170. DOI: 10.2478/s11686-007-0015-2 Alicja Gryczyńska-Siemiątkowska1*, Alicja Siedlecka1, Joanna Stańczak2 and Miłosława Barkowska1
Infestation of sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) resident in the Northeastern Poland by Ixodes ricinus (L.) ticks and their infection with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato
1Department of Ecology, Institute of Zoology, Warsaw University, 2 Banacha Str., 02-097 Warsaw; 2Department of Tropical Parasitology, Interfaculty Institute of Maritime and Tropical Medicine, Medical University of Gdańsk, 9B Powstania Styczniowego Str., 81-519 Gdynia; Poland
*Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) were trapped and examined for ticks from May to September in 2002 and 2003 in Northeastern
Poland. A total of 233 Ixodes ricinus (L.) ticks (76 larvae and 157 nymphs) was found on 31 of 235 captured lizards (13.2%).
The tick infestation is relatively low compared to that of mammals and passerine birds from the same area (Siński et al. 2006,
Gryczyńska et al. 2002). Tick infestation depended on the month of capture, being the highest in spring. In autumn no ticks were
recorded on any of the captured lizards. The oldest lizards carried the highest number of ticks but no differences related to sex
of the host were found. All the collected ticks were analysed by PCR for the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, the
etiological agents of Lyme disease. Spirochetes were detected in 11 out of 233 (4.7%) ticks tested. Genetic analysis confirmed
that the spirochetes are members of the Borrelia afzelii, B. garinii and B. burgdorferi sensu stricto genospecies. Mixed infection
were not detected. The prevalence of infection was analysed in relation to months of the capture, age and sex of the lizards,
but differences were not statistically significant. The obtained results suggest that lizards are probably not B. burgdorferi reservoirs,
but further studies are required to confirm this.
KEY WORDS: Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Ixodes ricinus, lizards