Apr 222015

Let me start with this emblematic parasite (and mite by the way), because this is the most common tick in France, found on human I mean. I was struck by the strange beauty of these horrible parasites, when I first put one of them under the microscope. Here I focus on an observation of larva of Ixodes ricinus.

There are many images of this animal on the net, but some microscopic details, in the light microscope, are worth mentioning…

I give you a reference of a very interesting book (visible on Google books) on the topic of tick physiology :

Physiology of Ticks: Current Themes in Tropical Science published by Frederick D. Obenchain, Rachel Galun

The respiration of the nymphs and adults are through the tracheae and the spiracular plates. In the case of larva, the respiration is through the cuticle. When I am observing this strange constellation of pores on both sides of the larva dorsum, can I say that these pores are for the respiration of the larva (last image of the gallery here below) ? Or are they an opening of ducts of dermal glands ? If somebody, somewhere has the answer, let me know ! Additionally, these constellation of pores are NOT symmetrical. A sort of tick fingerprint ?

The authors mentioned here under say the following (page 13) : “Pore canals are relatively large structures and easily resolved in the light microscope, but wax canals can only be seen in the electron microscope”.

In the case of my larva, I hence suppose we see pore canals (last image of the gallery here below), but what is this very tiny punctuation we can see on the capitulum of the larva ? The punctuation is also visible on the scutum, with an underlying polygonal structure (see the two photographs of the same zone). I try to show this on the light microscope photos here below. Maybe they are the wax canals ? Anyway it shows clearly the multi-stack structure of the cuticle.

For the pleasure here are photos of the whole tick and a focus on the capitulum and hypostoma !

Thanks for your comments.




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