Prevalence and significance of ectoparasites other than lice attacking chickens in Sokoto, north-west Nigeria
In an examination of 330 free-ranging chickens in Sokoto area for ectoparasites other than lice, a total of 10 species comprising 6 mites, Bdellonyssus bursa (56%), Epidermo ptesbilobalus (20%), Rivaltasiabi furcata (20%), Megninia cubitalis/Megninia tetraonis (72%), Cnemidoco ptesmutans (14%); 3 species of ticks, Argaspersicus (30%), Amblyomma variegatum (4%), Haemphy salishoodi (8%); and a species of flea, Echidnopha gagallinacea (26%) were recorded. Many infestations consisted of a few to a dozen individuals per bird. However, B. bursa, A. persicus and E. gallinacea were abundant (dozens to hundreds/thousands of individuals) on some birds constituting considerable health hazards. Ectoparasites fluctuated seasonally being more often found in the hot dry season (p<0.01) and warm wet season (p<0.05) than in the cool dry harmattan season. The findings suggest the need to develop preventive and control options against ticks, mites and fleas in the area for improved production potentials of birds.
Keywords: Chicken; ectoparasites; excluding lice; Sokoto; Nigeria