Coincident tick infestations in the nostrils of wild chimpanzees and a human in Uganda. Academic Article uri icon


  • Ticks in the nostrils of humans visiting equatorial African forests have been reported sporadically for decades, but their taxonomy and natural history have remained obscure. We report human infestation with a nostril tick in Kibale National Park, Uganda, coincident with infestation of chimpanzees in the same location with nostril ticks, as shown by high-resolution digital photography. The human-derived nostril tick was identified morphologically and genetically as a nymph of the genus Amblyomma, but the mitochondrial 12S ribosomal RNA or the nuclear intergenic transcribed spacer 2 DNA sequences of the specimen were not represented in GenBank. These ticks may represent a previously uncharacterized species that is adapted to infesting chimpanzee nostrils as a defense against grooming. Ticks that feed upon apes and humans may facilitate cross-species transmission of pathogens, and the risk of exposure is likely elevated for persons who frequent ape habitats.

published proceedings

  • Am J Trop Med Hyg

altmetric score

  • 164.458

author list (cited authors)

  • Hamer, S. A., Bernard, A. B., Donovan, R. M., Hartel, J. A., Wrangham, R. W., Otali, E., & Goldberg, T. L.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Hamer, Sarah A||Bernard, Andrew B||Donovan, Ronan M||Hartel, Jessica A||Wrangham, Richard W||Otali, Emily||Goldberg, Tony L

publication date

  • November 2013