Parasitology, Harold W. Manter Laboratory of


Date of this Version

April 1956


Published in The Journal of Parasitology 42:2 (April 1956), pp. 156-172. Published by the American Society of Parasitologists.


Hyrax-parasitizing Haemaphysalis ticks are most difficult to obtain and are rare in collections. In my encounters with hyraxes in East Africa, North Africa, Sinai, and Arabia, only a few East African hosts have been found infested. It seems probable that these ticks feed for but short periods. When off the host they are impossible to secure from deep within narrow clefts on steep mountainsides where hyraxes make their home. Thus, it can hardly be determined whether actual rarity in nature or short-term feeding accounts for the paucity of available specimens. In part, the infrequency with which collectors interested in ticks see and examine hyraxes is a factor.

The three haemaphysalid species herein discussed form a complex allied to the carnivore-parasitizing H. leachii group of Africa, Asia, and related archipelagoes and to the H. hoodi group, a bird-parasitizing complex of more localized species within the same area. For convenience, we shall refer to the hyrax parasites as the "H. orientalis group". The tailless, rodentlike hosts, among the oldest mammals in Africa are actually small, herbivorous ungulates with rhinoceros-like teeth and with feet indicating their relationship to the elephants. The geographical range of hyraxes includes much of tropical and southern Africa, parts of northern Africa, also Sinai, Arabia, and the Near East. Their haemaphysalid parasites, however, are known only from eastern and southern Africa.

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