MALDI-TOF MS Identification of Dromedary Camel Ticks and Detection of Associated Microorganisms, Southern Algeria

Fatima Zohra Hamlili, Maureen Laroche, Adama Zan Diarra, Ismail Lafri, Brahim Gassen, Boubaker Boutefna, Bernard Davoust, Idir Bitam, Philippe Parola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study used MALDI-TOF MS and molecular tools to identify tick species infesting camels from Tamanrasset in southern Algeria and to investigate their associated microorganisms. Ninety-one adult ticks were collected from nine camels and were morphologically identified as Hyalomma spp., Hyalomma dromedarii, Hyalomma excavatum, Hyalomma impeltatum and Hyalomma anatolicum. Next, the legs of all ticks were subjected to MALDI-TOF MS, and 88/91 specimens provided good-quality MS spectra. Our homemade MALDI-TOF MS arthropod spectra database was then updated with the new MS spectra of 14 specimens of molecularly confirmed species in this study. The spectra of the remaining tick specimens not included in the MS database were queried against the upgraded database. All 74 specimens were correctly identified by MALDI-TOF MS, with logarithmic score values ranging from 1.701 to 2.507, with median and mean values of 2.199 and 2.172 ± 0.169, respectively. One H. impeltatum and one H. dromedarii (2/91; 2.20%) tested positive by qPCR for Coxiella burnetii, the agent of Q fever. We also report the first detection of an Anaplasma sp. close to A. platys in H. dromedarii in Algeria and a potentially new Ehrlichia sp. in H. impeltatum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2178
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Algeria
  • Anaplasma platys
  • Coxiella burnetii
  • Hyalomma
  • camels
  • ticks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology


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