The present study consists of three parallel investigations:
(1) survey and critical review of the worldwide literature dealing with the ixodid ticks of Central Africa in general and of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi in particular,
(2) examination and identiﬁcation of available ixodid tick materials previously collected in Central Africa (Congo, Rwanda and Burundi), comprising some 70,000 specimens located primarily in the collections of the Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgium, and the Institut des Parcs Nationaux du Congo et du Rwanda, Bruxelles, Belgium; and
(3) collection and identiﬁcation of new materials coupled with ﬁeld and laboratory observations on the biology and ecology of some of the tick species occurring in the Kivu Province of the Congo and in the Republic of Rwanda.
Up to the present time, 78 species of ixodid ticks belonging to nine genera (Amblyomma – 12 species, Aponomma – three species, Boophilus – two species, Dermacentor – two species, Haemaphysalis – five species, Hyalomma – five species, Ixodes – 23 species, Rhipicentor – one species, Rhipicephalus – 25 species), have been reported from Central Africa (Congo, Rwanda and Burundi). Of this, the presence of 75 species in this area is validated by available materials and new collections. The geographical distribution, as well as the list of aﬂected hosts vary with each species. The species Amblyomma cohaerens, A. splendidum, A. variegatum, Boophilus decoloratus, Haemaphysalis l. leachii, Ixodes muniensis, I. pseudorasus, Rhipicephalus appendiculatus, Rh. compositus, Rh. longus, Rh. s. sanguineus, and Rh. s. simus are quantitatively outstanding. Most of these species occur on a variety of domestic and wild animals and are capable of causing severe economic losses to the livestock industry as well as transmitting agents of human diseases.
Field collections and ectoparasite surveys of small mammals show that while numerous insectivores and rodents serve as hosts to the immature stages of the genera. Amblyomma, Ixodes and Rhipicephalus, the insectivores are generally more heavily infested. This is true in the savannah as well as in the forest habitats. The periods of activity vary with each species, however, it is apparent that the favourable, equatorial climate allows a quick succession of generations.
The results of these studies are presented in such a way that each genus is treated as a discrete unit in which each species is dealt with from the viewpoint of taxonomy, distribution and hosts, biology, relationship to disease, diagnosis, description and illustration. The distribution of each of the species in the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi is plotted individually on maps, and keys to the identiﬁcation of the adults of each species are presented in the treatment of each genus. Immature stages are listed but not treated at this time.