Edinburgh Research Explorer

Genetic parameters for tick counts across months for different tick species and anatomical locations in South African Nguni cattle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Ntanganedzeni Mapholi
  • Azwihangwisi Maiwashe
  • Oswald Matika
  • Valentina Riggio
  • C. B. Banga
  • Michael D. MacNeil
  • Voster Muchenje
  • Khathutshelo Nephawe
  • Kennedy Dzama

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Open Access permissions



  • Download as Adobe PDF

    Rights statement: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

    Final published version, 402 KB, PDF document

    Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1201-1210
JournalTropical Animal Health and Production
Issue number6
Early online date8 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


The objective of the study was to characterise genetic parameters across months for different tick species and anatomical locations in South African Nguni cattle. Tick counts were conducted monthly, over a 2-year period, on 586 Nguni cattle under natural infestation, from four herds located in different provinces of South Africa. The counts were recorded for six species of ticks (Amblyomma hebraeum, Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi, Rhipicephalus decoleratus and microplus (Boofilids), Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, Rhipicephalus simus and Hyalomma marginatum) attached on eight anatomical locations on the animals and were summed by species and anatomical location. Heritability estimates, phenotypic and genetic correlations were estimated on a monthly basis using mixed linear models, fitting univariate and bivariate sire models. Fixed effects considered were location, sex, year and age as a covariate. Tick counts were higher in the hot months, and A. hebraeum was the most dominant tick species. Heritability estimates for tick count varied by month and trait and ranged from 0 to 0.89. Genetic correlations were mostly positive, and low to high, with some negative correlations with high standard error. Phenotypic correlations were low to moderate. In general, high genetic correlations were observed between whole body count and the anatomical location counts, suggesting that it may not be necessary to conduct whole body counts. Counts from the belly and perineum appeared to be the most suitable surrogate traits for whole body count. These findings provide useful information for developing strategies for the practical implementation of genetic selection, as a supplement to the traditional tick control measures.

    Research areas

  • tick resistance, tick count, heritability, correlation

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 36909021