A snapshot of climate drivers and temporal variation of Ixodes ovatus abundance from a giant panda living in the wild

Xueyang Fan, Rui Ma, Changjuan Yue, Jiabin Liu, Bisong Yue, Wanjing Yang, Yunli Li, Jiang Gu, James E. Ayala, Daniel E. Bunker, Xia Yan, Dunwu Qi, Xiaoyan Su, Lin Li, Dongsheng Zhang, Hongwen Zhang, Zhisong Yang, Rong Hou, Songrui Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ticks and tick-borne diseases have negative impacts on the health of wild animals including endangered and vulnerable species. The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), a vulnerable and iconic flagship species, is threatened by tick infestation as well. Not only can ticks cause anemia and immunosuppression in the giant panda, but also bacterial and viral diseases. However, previous studies regarding tick infestation on giant pandas were limited in scope as case reports from sick or dead animals. In this study, an investigation focusing on the tick infestation of a reintroduced giant panda at the Daxiangling Reintroduction Base in Sichuan, China was conducted. Ticks were routinely collected and identified from the ears of the giant panda from March to September in 2021. A linear model was used to test the correlation between tick abundance and climate factors. All ticks were identified as Ixodes ovatus. Tick abundance was significantly different among months. Results from the linear model showed temperature positively correlated to tick abundance, while air pressure had a negative correlation with tick abundance. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first reported investigation of tick species and abundance on a healthy giant panda living in the natural environment, and provides important information for the conservation of giant pandas and other species sharing the same habitat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-169
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife
StatePublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Infectious Diseases


  • Ailuropoda melanoleuca
  • Ixodes ovatus
  • Reintroduction
  • Tick


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