VARIATION IN ACTIVITY OF AGING AMBLYOMMA-MACULATUM KOCH (ACARINA, IXODIDAE) LARVAE IN RELATION TO VAPOR-PRESSURE DEFICITS IN PASTURE VEGETATION COMPLEXES
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Behavior and survival of A. maculatum larvae were studied in relation to vapor pressure deficits (VPD) in buffelgrass Cenchrus ciliaris, mixed-brush buffelgrass and mesquite Prosopis glandulosa buffelgrass. Larval activity and survival time (73 days) in the open buffelgrass complex was significantly less than that observed in both canopied complexes. Within the canopied complexes, these parameters were significantly greater in mesquite/buffelgrass than that recorded in mixed-brush/buffelgrass. Larvae survived 80 and 89 days in mixed-brush/buffelgrass and mesquite/buffelgrass, respectively. Maximum activity and response to stimulus in early larval life occurred between 13.30 h and 18.00 h when daily VPDs were at their highest. During middle and late larval life, activity was greatest during morning and evening hours, but peak larval response to stimulus occurred during the period of highest VPD. When VPDs were low (0-7 mm Hg) larvae were less likely to respond to breath or touch stimulus during any phase of life. Diurnal activity and response-to-stimulus patterns suggest that behavior priorities change from host seeking to moisture replenishment.-from Authors
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FLEETWOOD, S. C., & TEEL, P. D.
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