The American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis, is a veterinary- and medically- significant tick species that is known to transmit several diseases to animal and human hosts. The spatial distribution of this species in North America is not well understood, however; and knowledge of likely changes to its future geographic distribution owing to ongoing climate change is needed for proper public health planning and messaging. Two recent studies have evaluated these topics for D. variabilis; however, less-rigorous modeling approaches in those studies may have led to erroneous predictions. We evaluated the present and future distribution of this species using a correlative maximum entropy approach, using publicly available occurrence information. Future potential distributions were predicted under two representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios; RCP 4.5 for low-emissions and RCP 8.5 for high-emissions. Our results indicated a broader current distribution of this species in all directions relative to its currently known extent, and dramatic potential for westward and northward expansion of suitable areas under both climate change scenarios. Implications for disease ecology and public health are discussed.
Boorgula, G., Peterson, A. T., Foley, D. H., Ganta, R. R., & Raghavan, R. K. (2020). Assessing the current and future potential geographic distribution of the American dog tick, Dermacentor variabilis (Say) (Acari: Ixodidae) in North America. PloS one, 15(8), e0237191. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0237191