Preliminary Observations on Specific Adaptations of Exophilic Ixodid Ticks to Forests or Open Country Habitats

Abstract

Some features of three-host exophilic ticks important for their survival differ at the generic level in relation to the types of their habitat. Ixodes and Haemaphysalis are typical forest genera, Hyalomma is an open country genus, whereas Dermacentor and Rhipicephalus, having some features of forest ticks, are closer to the ticks of open country. Forest ticks encounter rather stable and favorable temperature, humidity and illumination conditions as compared with open country ticks. A few differences determining every-day survival, host-seeking, and reproduction of ticks are considered. (1) Tolerance to desiccation is very low in forest ticks and much greater in ticks of open country. (2) Lack of eyes in forest ticks (having, however, epithelial photoreceptor cells) and formation of eyes as special morphological structures in ticks of open country. (3) Capability of mating and insemination of unfed specimens both on and off hosts in forest ticks (Ixodes) and insemination of partially engorged females only on hosts by fed males in open country ticks. (4) Reciprocal sexual dimorphism where in forest ticks females have a larger body than males and in open country ticks this correlation is opposite. (5) Linear dependence between female weight and number of eggs laid is established in forest ticks after the female weight becomes higher than 50% of mean engorgement weight whereas in open country ticks linear dependence begins to reveal itself much earlier. (6) In forest ticks the compensatory growth occurs only during adult feeding whereas in open country ticks such a growth occurs both during nymphal and adult feeding. The adaptive nature of the above differences and their evolutionary trends have been hypothesized.

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025303811856

Cite this paper

@article{Uspensky2002PreliminaryOO, title={Preliminary Observations on Specific Adaptations of Exophilic Ixodid Ticks to Forests or Open Country Habitats}, author={Igor Uspensky}, journal={Experimental & Applied Acarology}, year={2002}, volume={28}, pages={147-154} }