Sunday, May 10, 2020

Answer to Case 590

Answer to Parasite Case of the Week 590: Ixodes scapularis larvae, freshly hatched from an egg mass laid by a captive female. This fascinating video was generously donated by Dr. Graham Hickling who does research on hard tick biology.

While there isn't enough information present to specifically identify these ticks, you can say a few things about them from the video:
  1. The have only 6 legs, and are therefore larvae.
  2. In North America, the long mouth parts and ovoid body would be most consistent with Ixodes species. 
As astutely noted by Old One, "Six legs, newly hatched, long club shaped palps, apparently no visible festoons and no visible inverted U anal plate. Definitely newly hatched seed ticks (I would like to suggest a name change to TICK-ETTE) as in pick up your tickettes here. You might need to FLAG them down."

We've actually seen these little wonders before in a different blog post:
HERE is momma tick laying her eggs, with a video showing the action HERE. I HIGHLY recommend this video - it is fascinating! You may want to check out the other great videos on this site: Thanks again to Graham for sharing his 'babies' and passion for acarology with the rest of the world.

While I. scapularis tick larvae won't usually hatch until this summer, the nymphs that have over-wintered from last year are now out, so be sure to take precautions against tick bites when outdoors!

1 comment:

Old One said...

A wonderful movie. Regretably the mass of eggs covers up a most interesting female tick feature, the Gene's Organ.

During the process of egg laying, the eggs are extruded from the genital pore (ventral). The palps bend toward the pore pick up the egg and transfer it to the dorsal surface of the capitulum. The 2 horns of Gene's organ grab the egg and roll them over the porose areas which covers the egg with a protective coating of wax. The Gene;s Organ appear inflated and come from a slit on the capitulum and only appear during egg laying