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The objective of our study was to determine whether satellite remote sensed data could be used to identify white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus (Zimmerman) (Artiodactyla: Cervidae), habitat and target locations for sampling free-living larvae of the southern cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Canestrini) (Ixodida: Ixodidae) in South Texas. Two methods for mapping white-tailed deer habitat were used, an object-oriented method to identify closed canopies and waterways for deer movement and two vegetation indices: the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and the Modified Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index to identify forage for deer. These two data sets of favorable white-tailed deer habitat were combined within a geographic information system to identify locations for sampling ticks. Larvae of R. (B.) microplus, were sampled in Zapata County, Texas, by walking transects with attached flannel panels to jeans. Although the data set and sampling period were limited, data analysis demonstrated that sampling of free-living larvae of R. (B.) microplus can be conducted in South Texas, and larvae were most abundant in areas that harbored O. virginianus. Spatial analysis of satellite imagery to classify white-tailed deer/southern cattle tick habitat proved efficacious and may be useful in directing sampling activities in the field.
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