To reduce the risk of zoonoses, it is necessary to understand the infection process, including the ecology of animals and vectors (i.e., the 'One Health' approach). In temperate climates, ticks are the major vectors of zoonoses, so factors determining their abundance, such as host mammal abundance and microhabitat conditions, should be clarified. Sika deer (Cervus nippon) are a major tick host and are rapidly expanding their distribution in Japan. We established 12 plots along a gradient of sika deer abundance in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan. We monitored the occurrence of mammal species with camera traps and sampled questing ticks on a monthly basis by flagging along three transects (center of a trail, forest edge, and forest interior) at each site from April to November 2018. The camera traps recorded 12 mammal species, predominantly sika deer. Five Haemaphysalis species and three Ixodes species were sampled. The numbers of ticks sampled were explained by the photographic frequency of sika deer, and partly by that of other mammal species, depending on tick species and their developmental stages. The numbers of sampled adult and nymphal ticks were the highest at the forest edge, where vegetation cover was greatest. Thus, vegetation management in tick habitats and the control of sika deer populations may reduce tick abundance.

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