© 2019 Studies on tick microbial communities historically focused on tick-borne pathogens. However, there is an increasing interest in capturing relationships among non-pathogenic endosymbionts and exploring their relevance for tick biology. The present study included a total of 1600 adult ticks collected from domestic dogs in 4 different biogeographical regions of Spain. Each pool formed by 1 to 10 halves of individuals representing one specific ticks species was examined by PCR for the presence of Coxiellaceae, Rickettsia spp., Rickettsiales, Wolbachia spp., and other bacterial DNA. Of the pools analyzed, 92% tested positive for endosymbiont-derived DNA. Coxiella spp. endosymbionts were the most prevalent microorganisms, being always present in Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato (s.l.) pools. Rickettsia spp. DNA was detected in 60% of Dermacentor reticulatus pools and 40% of R. sanguineus s.l. pools, with a higher diversity of Rickettsia species in R. sanguineus s.l. pools. Our study reveals a negative relationship of Rickettsia massiliae with the presence of tick-borne pathogens in the same pool of ticks. An additional endosymbiont, ‘Candidatus Rickettsiella isopodorum’, was only detected in D. reticulatus pools. Data from this study indicate that dogs in Spain are exposed to several endosymbionts. Due to the importance of tick-borne pathogens, characterizing the role of endosymbionts for tick physiology and prevalence, may lead to novel control strategies.
- Tick-borne pathogens
- ‘Candidatus Rickettsiella isopodorum’