Term of Award

Summer 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Lorenza Beati

Committee Member 1

Lance Durden

Committee Member 2

Laura Regassa


This work sought to reassess the taxonomic status of Amblyomma parvum Aragao, 1908 and of the A. maculatum group of ticks Camicas, 1998. By using different molecular markers, 12SrDNA, 16SrDNA, DL, COI, COII (mitochondrial) and ITS2 (nuclear), I analyzed the systematic relationships between these taxa and their closest relatives. Phylogenetic analyses by maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analysis were performed in order to determine relationships among species and populations, and to determine the evolutionary history of these ixodids. The data obtained supported the hypothesis of cryptic speciation occurring within A. parvum, with the northern populations of Central America being a different species from the one occurring in the southern latitudes, mainly in Brazil and Argentina. As for the A. maculatum group of species, the results strongly suggest that A. triste should be synonymized with A. maculatum, while A. tigrinum is maintained as a separated taxon until further biological evidence is gathered. In conclusion, the analyses presented herein successfully resolved some of the taxonomic issues within this large genus of hard ticks, while raising additional questions for future investigations.