Ticks (n = 252) were collected from five wild-caught reptile species during routine trapping in the Djukbinj National Park and Fogg Dam Reserve, Northern Territory, Australia. Pooling of ticks (one to four ticks per pool), according to sex or host animal, resulted in 187 samples used for screening for the presence of Rickettsia species via molecular methods. Rickettsia DNA was detected via the amplification of the gltA, ompA, and ompB genes in 57 (34%) of the 187 tick samples, all of which contained only the tick Amblyomma fimbriatum Koch (Acari: Ixodidae). Further amplification and sequencing of nine of the positive samples (4.8%) for the gltA, ompA, ompB, 17-kDa, and 16S rRNA genes identified a Rickettsia species sharing closest identity to Rickettsia tamurae. In addition, amplification and sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene detected in the same tick samples the presence of a Francisella species closely related to other tick-borne Francisellae identified in ticks from the Northern Hemisphere.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4