Argasidae - Carios yumatensis
Size: Approximately 3.5 mm
Group Guild Status
Subtroglophile Parasite Uncommon
This soft tick species has been found on M. velifer and several other bat species in the southwestern United States (Bradshaw and Ross 1961; Dooley et al. 1976). We observed C. yumatensis on six occasions during the recent study. Each observation was of a single individual. Since both immatures and adults of this species were found in the cave during the recent study we suspect that the animals breed in the cave (BMOC).
The ticks were likely groomed off of roosting bats. Five of the ticks were observed on the Maternity Roost guano deposit, and one was located in the LEM Room (November 14, 2009), where the individual was found beneath a small piece of floor debris. There was a single Mexican long-tongued bat (Choeronycteris mexicana) hanging on the ceiling at the north end of the same room on that day. The tick may have been associated with this animal, but the Myotis colony accesses the cave through this area as well, and no conclusive determination of the host for this individual can be made. Even though the Myotis were not in residence at this time, ticks can remain viable for exceptionally long times until another host becomes available. So, there is the possibility that the host for this individual was M. velifer. However, the cave myotis are not known to roost in the LEM room, but probably only pass through while entering and leaving the cave. Individual bats may hang up briefly in this area during milling of the bats prior to the evening foraging flight, so some of the bats may occasionally groom while in the area.
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