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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Ticks in the wrong boxes: assessing error in blanket-drag studies due to occasional sampling
Author(s): Dobson, Andrew
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Keywords: Ticks
Disease risk
Issue Date: Dec-2013
Date Deposited: 25-Mar-2014
Citation: Dobson A (2013) Ticks in the wrong boxes: assessing error in blanket-drag studies due to occasional sampling. Parasites and Vectors, 6 (1), Art. No.: 344.
Abstract: BACKGROUND The risk posed by ticks as vectors of disease is typically assessed by blanket-drag sampling of host-seeking individuals. Comparisons of peak abundance between plots - either in order to establish their relative risk or to identify environmental correlates - are often carried out by sampling on one or two occasions during the period of assumed peak tick activity. METHODS This paper simulates this practice by 're-sampling' from model datasets derived from an empirical field study. Re-sample dates for each plot are guided by either the previous year's peak at the plot, or the previous year's peak at a similar, nearby plot. Results from single, double and three-weekly sampling regimes are compared. RESULTS Sampling on single dates within a two-month window of assumed peak activity has the potential to introduce profound errors; sampling on two dates (double sampling) offers greater precision, but three-weekly sampling is the least biased. CONCLUSIONS The common practice of sampling for the abundance of host-seeking ticks on single dates in each plot-year should be strenuously avoided; it is recommended that field acarologists employ regular sampling throughout the year at intervals no greater than three weeks, for a variety of epidemiological studies.
DOI Link: 10.1186/1756-3305-6-344
Rights: © 2013 Dobson; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
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