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Chapter 7 : Tick Systematics and Identification

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Abstract:

Ticks are obligate ectoparasites of terrestrial vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals). They belong to the class Arachnida, which as a group are distinguished from the class Insecta by having four pairs of legs as nymphs and adults, lacking both antennae and wings, and having two pairs of appendages associated with their mouthparts, i.e., chelicerae and pedipalps. All ticks and some mites are the only members of the Arachnida that are parasitic. In terms of size, ticks are the largest acarines and can be recognized by their dorsoventrally flattened appearance and by one component of the mouthparts, a hypostome with recurved teeth that acts as a holdfast organ, anchoring the tick to its host. They also possess a unique sensory apparatus, called Haller’s organ on the tarsus of each foreleg. Ticks can be divided into three families, the Argasidae (soft ticks), Ixodidae (hard ticks), and Nuttalliellidae. The last-named family includes a single species from Africa that is infrequently collected, but the other two families are widespread and include many species, some of which may bite humans. While several species of ticks may occasionally attach to humans, relatively few species commonly bite humans, and some of these are vectors of disease-causing pathogens. This chapter considers ticks that are frequently recorded as biting humans. It lists identification guides for ticks that occur in the world’s different zoogeographic regions.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7

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Figures

Image of Figure 1
Figure 1

Line drawings of an ixodid (hard) tick ( sp.), showing prinicipal dorsal and ventral morphological features, including enlargements of two types of male hypostomes with denticles or crenulations (from reference 47 with permission).

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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Image of Figure 2
Figure 2

Scanning electron micrographs (SEMs) showing dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) morphology of a larval ixodid (hard) tick. Scale bars, 100 µm. The specimen is from the Afrotropical region.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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Image of Figure 3
Figure 3

SEMs showing dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) morphology of a nymphal ixodid (hard) tick. Scale bars, 200 µm. The specimen is from the Neotropical and southern Nearctic regions.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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Image of Figure 4
Figure 4

SEMs showing dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) morphology of a larval argasid (soft) tick. Scale bars, 200 µm. The specimen is from the Neotropical region.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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Image of Figure 5
Figure 5

SEMs showing dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) morphology of an adult sp. soft tick. Scale bars, 1,000 µm. The upper specimen is a male from the Palearctic region; the lower specimen is a female from the Neotropical region.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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Image of Figure 6
Figure 6

SEMs showing dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) morphology of an adult sp. soft tick. Scale bars, 500 µm (top) and 1,000 µm (bottom). The specimens are male ticks; this species occurs almost worldwide in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate maritime regions.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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Image of Figure 7
Figure 7

SEMs showing dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) morphology of an adult sp. hard tick. Scale bars, 500 µm. The specimen (both figures) is a male tick; this species occurs in the Neotropical and southern Nearctic regions.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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Image of Figure 8
Figure 8

SEMs showing dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) morphology of an adult sp. hard tick. Scale bars, 1,000 µm. The specimen is a female tick; this species occurs in the Nearctic region.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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Image of Figure 9
Figure 9

SEMs showing dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) morphology of an adult sp. hard tick. Scale bars, 1,000 µm. The specimen is a female tick; this species occurs in the Afrotropical region, although a few have been collected from the southern Palearctic region. Note: some leg segments were removed from this specimen as part of another study.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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Image of Figure 10
Figure 10

SEMs showing dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) morphology of an adult sp. hard tick. Scale bars, 500 µm. The specimen is a male tick; this species occurs in the Palearctic region. Note: some leg segments were removed from this specimen in connection with another study.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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Image of Figure 11
Figure 11

SEMs showing dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom) morphology of an adult sp. hard tick. Scale bars, 500 µm. The specimen is a female tick from the Afrotropical region.

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7
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References

/content/book/10.1128/9781555816490.chap7
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Tables

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Table 1

Tick identification references organized by zoogeographic region

Citation: Keirans J, Durden L. 2005. Tick Systematics and Identification, p 123-140. In Goodman J, Dennis D, Sonenshine D, Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816490.ch7

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