Jan 212016

Our today parasite has, as indicated by the species name, a quite circular appearance. Unfortunatly, I cannot show you a global view of this species. I am really sorry but it was to big for my lowest magnification objective !

Zonurobia circularis Lawrence 1935 belongs to the family of Pterygosomatidae and has been found on Platysaurus guttatus, the dwarf flat lizard. It can be found in Nord Transvaal in South Africa.

This is probable that the author of the prepared slide is Frank J. Radowsky (1929-2010), but I am not sure. Anyway this specimen and slide is now part of the French collection MNHN, Paris.

This prepared slide is really good and we can observe many details. I particularly appreciate the scale-like setae, which reminds me the scales of a butterfly. Have you ever observed butterfly scales in a microscope ?

Gnathosoma reminds me a tick, with hypostome and chelicerae, but it is far from an Ixodida !


I draw your attention on peritremal tubes araising on each side of the gnathosoma. I made specially two photographies of the gnathosoma, with two different focusses.

By the way, I recommend you the following publication which shows some very good drawings of this species :


If you observe carefully the description and drawings which are made of Zonurobia circularis, you may notice that my photos are showing exactly the same configuration of articles and setae…

This publication, here above in reference, mentions that Lawrence has described 5 different types of Zonurobia circularis, and this species would probably require some deaper analysis linked with the type of hosts… Zonurobia is considered by Jack (1964) as near to Pterygosoma genera. One may wonder if some described species of Pterygosoma could not be in reality Zonurobia !

I propose you to compare both genera with the following post showing Pterygosoma transvaalense.

We are at you disposal to make such analysis if you can provide us some specimens of these nice parasites !

Sep 082015

I am back with another mount from the collection of National Museum of Natural History in Paris. The shown slide has the following references :

  • Name of species : Pterygosoma rubi (not valid)
  • Name of host : Agama atricolis (quoted with one “l” for atricollis on the slide)
  • Locality : Bukavu (Democratic Republic of Congo)
  • Reference of slide : 8F7
  • From the medical laboratory of Kivu

First of all, Agama atricollis is now a synonym of Acanthocercus atricollis. It is an Agamid lizard living in South East of Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi…).

Secondly, Pterygosoma rubi is not currently a valid species. After interrogation of Michel Bertrand, a French acarologist who studies Pterygosomatidae, it seems that the illustrated species is rather Pterygosoma transvaalense described by Lawrence in 1935. This is the only known parasiting mite of Acanthocercus atricollis. New species of Pterygosomatidae are still being discovered on reptiles.

I propose you another example of Pterygosomatidae with Zonurobia circularis.

If you happen to collect such parasites on lizards, Agamidae, or other reptiles, we would be happy to receive some samples for identification and photography.

Thanks again to the NMNH in Paris !


Jun 082015

Hello world,

Here is a ventral view of a male of Haemaphysalis punctata. This tick is widespread in Europe but can be found also in central Asia.

The male has very long internal spurs on the coxas IV, as you can notice on the enclosed remarquable photo done by Paul Leroy. The tick shown appears differently as other ones you can find on the internet, because this is a microscopic mount, and the animal has been cleared to reach semi transparency.

According to the site quoted here below, this type of tick shows no preference for environment and can live in humid / cold, or warm / desertic environment. This is probably due to some specific adaptations…

According to an Ukrainian study (see here below), it can be found on very different types of hosts (wide range of mammals, birds, but also occasionnaly on reptile). Common hosts in human environment : cattle, sheep, goat, horse, deer, rabbit, humans…

As other ticks, it can transmit several types of diseases :

  • Rickettsia siberica,
  • Tickborne encephalitis virus
  • Babesia bobis, B. bigeminum…
  • Theileria mutans, T. recondita…
  • Coxiella burneti
  • Brucella melitensis
  • Bhanja virus
  • Francisella tularensis

With such diseases transmitted, it raises the question of good and evil. Is such a tick good or evil ? How can we accept the fact that such a being could have a benefic role in the animal reign diversity ? If you have your aswer to this question, let me know !

Litterature :

  • The ecology, bionomics, and behaviour of Haemaphysalis (Aboimisalis) punctata tick in central Europe, Josef Nosek (No open access)
    • In this document, you can have an overview of the big diversity of hosts for this type of tick.

Links :

Apr 222015
Ixodes ricinus - larva

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 […]