Comparative daily activity patterns of Nilgai, Boselaphus tragocamelus and white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus in South Texas

Author(s): Nirbhay K. Singh, John A. Goolsby, Alfonso Ortega-S., Jr., David G. Hewitt, Tyler A. Campbell and Adalberto Pérez de León

Published: July 2017

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Nilgai antelope, Boselaphus tragocamelus and white-tailed deer (WTD), Odocoileus virginianus are hosts of cattle fever ticks, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus and Rhipicephalus (B.) annulatus, in the South Texas. Dai-ly activity patterns were studied to develop optimum timing for field treatment methods for cattle fever ticks on these wildlife hosts. Motion detecting game cameras (n=160) were deployed between Aug and Oct 2016 at the East Foundation’s Santa Rosa Ranch, Kleberg Co., TX. A total of 218 animal images comprising of 114 nilgai and 104 WTD observations were recorded, by time of the day. White-tailed deer showed two distinct peaks in activity during morning and evening whereas, nilgai activity showed multiple peaks throughout the day. Both species were active during morning followed by evening, whereas minimum activity was seen in the heat of the afternoon. Nilgai were more active at night than WTD, with 30% and 17 % of the images recorded respectively. Treatment of nilgai for control of cattle fever ticks may be most efficient at night when they are most active.