Description of the male and the larva of Ixodes collaris Hornok, 2016 with drawings of all stages.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Ixodes collaris Hornok, 2016 is a recently discovered tick species associated with bats in Asia. This study provides the description of the male and the larva, as well as high quality drawings of all stages. METHODS:Ticks were collected from cave walls and bats in Phia Oac (Vietnam). DNA was extracted from one individual of each stage/sex, while another was morphometrically analysed. Based on two genetic markers, all ticks were identified as I. collaris. RESULTS:The male of I. collaris has long legs (i.e. the length of Haller's organ exceeds the maximum diameter of tarsus I), unlike the male of I. simplex Neumann, 1906, but similarly to males of I. vespertilionis Koch, 1844 and I. ariadnae Hornok, 2014. The lateral and medial edges of the palpi of male I. collaris are both convexly curved, unlike in I. ariadnae and I. simplex, but similarly to I. vespertilionis. The male of I. collaris has long palpal setae (up to 210 µm), unlike the males of I. ariadnae (30-100 µm) and I. simplex (20-80 µm), but similarly to I. vespertilionis (100-200 µm). Males of I. collaris have sparse distribution of long palpal setae (vs dense in I. vespertilionis) and posteriorly diverging, sclerotized trapezoid ridge dorsally on the basis capituli (posteriorly convergent, U-shaped and less evident in I. vespertilionis). The larva of I. collaris has long legs (unlike the larva of I. simplex, but similarly to I. vespertilionis and I. ariadnae), elongated club-shaped palpi (240 × 70 vs 200 × 90 µm in I. ariadnae, 200 × 70 µm in I. vespertilionis; and 140 × 60 µm in I. simplex:), pentagonal scutum, which is longer than broad (different from I. ariadnae and I. simplex, but similar to that of I. vespertilionis). The larva of I. collaris has strongly concave caudolateral margin of ventral basis with perpendicular angle (vs slightly concave, with obtuse angle in I. vespertilionis) and a prominent, dark sclerotized edge, "collar" (absent in I. vespertilionis). CONCLUSION:Several features allow to distinguish the male and the larva of I. collaris morphologically from those of other bat-associated ixodid tick species.
Project description:In this study 308 ticks (Ixodes ariadnae: 26 larvae, 14 nymphs, five females; I. vespertilionis: 89 larvae, 27 nymphs, eight females; I. simplex: 80 larvae, 50 nymphs, nine females) have been collected from 200 individuals of 17 bat species in two countries, Hungary and Romania. After DNA extraction these ticks were molecularly analysed for the presence of piroplasm DNA. In Hungary I. ariadnae was most frequently identified from bat species in the family Vespertilionidae, whereas I. vespertilionis was associated with Rhinolophidae. Ixodes ariadnae was not found in Romania. Four, four and one new bat host species of I. ariadnae, I. vespertilionis and I. simplex were identified, respectively. DNA sequences of piroplasms were detected in 20 bat ticks (15 larvae, four nymphs and one female). I. simplex carried piroplasm DNA sequences significantly more frequently than I. vespertilionis. In I. ariadnae only Babesia vesperuginis DNA was detected, whereas in I. vespertilionis sequences of both B. vesperuginis and B. crassa. From I. simplex the DNA of B. canis, Theileria capreoli, T. orientalis and Theileria sp. OT3 were amplified, as well as a shorter sequence of the zoonotic B. venatorum. Bat ticks are not known to infest dogs or ruminants, i.e. typical hosts and reservoirs of piroplasms molecularly identified in I. vespertilionis and I. simplex. Therefore, DNA sequences of piroplasms detected in these bat ticks most likely originated from the blood of their respective bat hosts. This may indicate either that bats are susceptible to a broader range of piroplasms than previously thought, or at least the DNA of piroplasms may pass through the gut barrier of bats during digestion of relevant arthropod vectors. In light of these findings, the role of bats in the epidemiology of piroplasmoses deserves further investigation.
Project description:Recently a new hard tick species, Ixodes ariadnae has been discovered, adding to the two known ixodid tick species (I. vespertilionis and I. simplex) of bats in Europe.Scanning electron microscopic comparison of adult females of these species shows morphological differences concerning the palps, the scutum, the Haller's organ, the coxae, as well as the arrangement and fine structure of setae. Molecular analysis of 10 geographically different isolates revealed 90-95% sequence homology in the 12S and 16S rDNA genes of bat tick species. Based on 12S rDNA sequences, genotypes of I. ariadnae clustered closest to I. simplex, whereas according to their 16S rDNA gene they were closest to I. vespertilionis. The subolesin gene of I. ariadnae had only 91% sequence homology with that of I. ricinus, and is the longest known among hard tick species.The present study illustrates the morphology and clarifies the phylogenetic relationships of the three known bat tick species that occur in Europe. According to its subolesin gene I. ariadnae may have a long evolutionary history.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In Europe two ixodid bat tick species, Ixodes vespertilionis and I. simplex were hitherto known to occur. METHODS: Bat ticks were collected from cave walls and bats in Hungary. Their morphology and genotypes were compared with microscopy and conventional PCR (followed by sequencing), respectively. RESULTS: A year-round activity of I. vespertilionis was observed. Molecular analysis of the cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene of twenty ticks from different caves showed that the occurrence of the most common genotype was associated with the caves close to each other. A few specimens of a morphologically different tick variant were also found and their COI analysis revealed only 86-88% sequence homology with I. simplex and I. vespertilionis, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The microenvironment of caves (well separated from each other) appears to support the existence of allopatric I. vespertilionis COI genotypes, most likely related to the distance between caves and to bat migration over-bridging certain caves. The name I. ariadnae sp. nov. is given to the new tick species described here for the first time.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Parasites may actively seek for hosts and may use a number of adaptive strategies to promote their reproductive success and host colonization. These strategies will necessarily influence their host specificity and seasonality. Ticks are important ectoparasites of vertebrates, which (in addition to directly affecting their hosts) may transmit a number of pathogens. In Europe, three hard tick species (Ixodidae: Ixodes ariadnae, I. simplex and I. vespertilionis) and at least two soft tick species (Argasidae: Argas transgariepinus and A. vespertilionis) are specialized for bats. METHODS:Here we report data on the host range of these ticks and the seasonality of tick infestation on wild caught bats in south-east Europe. We collected 1803 ticks from 30 species of bats living in underground shelters (caves and mines) from Romania and Bulgaria. On the basis of tick-host associations, we tested several hypotheses on host-parasite evolutionary adaptations regulating host specificity, seasonality and sympatric speciation. RESULTS:We observed significant differences in host specificity and seasonality of abundance between the morphologically different bat specialist ticks (I. simplex and I. vespertilionis) likely caused by their host choice and their respective host-seeking behavior. The two highly generalist, but morphologically similar tick species (I. ariadnae and I. vespertilionis) showed temporal differences in occurrence and activity, thus exploiting significantly different host communities while occurring in geographical sympatry. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that bat-specialist ticks show a wide range of adaptations to their hosts, with differences in specificity, seasonality of occurrence, the prevalence and intensity of infestation and all these contribute to a successful division of temporal niches of ticks sharing morphologically similar hosts occurring in geographical sympatry.
Project description:Phylogeographical studies allow precise genetic comparison of specimens, which were collected over large geographical ranges and belong to the same or closely related animal species. These methods have also been used to compare ticks of veterinary-medical importance. However, relevant data are missing in the case of ixodid ticks of bats, despite (1) the vast geographical range of both Ixodes vespertilionis and Ixodes simplex, and (2) the considerable uncertainty in their taxonomy, which is currently unresolvable by morphological clues.In the present study 21 ticks were selected from collections or were freshly removed from bats or cave walls in six European and four Asian countries. The DNA was extracted and PCRs were performed to amplify part of the cytochrome oxidase I (COI), 16S and 12S rDNA genes, followed by sequencing for identification and molecular-phylogenetic comparison.No morphological differences were observed between Ixodes vespertilionis specimens from Spain and from other parts of Europe, but corresponding genotypes had only 94.6 % COI sequence identity. An I. vespertilionis specimen collected in Vietnam was different both morphologically and genetically (i.e. with only 84.1 % COI sequence identity in comparison with I. vespertilionis from Europe). Two ticks (collected in Vietnam and in Japan) formed a monophyletic clade and shared morphological features with I. ariadnae, recently described and hitherto only reported in Europe. In addition, two Asiatic specimens of I. simplex were shown to differ markedly from European genotypes of the same species. Phylogenetic relationships of ticks showed similar clustering patterns with those of their associated bat host species.Although all three ixodid bat tick species evaluated in the present study appear to be widespread in Eurasia, they exhibit pronounced genetic differences. Data of this study also reflect that I. vespertilionis may represent a species complex.
Project description:In a recent study on ixodid bat ticks from Eurasia, a high genetic difference was found between Ixodes vespertilionis from Europe and Vietnam. Accordingly, it was proposed that I. vespertilionis is a species complex, with at least one additional, hitherto undescribed species. The aim of the present study was to investigate the morphology of bat ticks from Vietnam and to assess their taxonomic status in comparison with those collected in Europe.Ixodid bat ticks (two females and two nymphs) collected from the pomona leaf-nosed bat (Hipposideros pomona) (Hipposideridae) and intermediate horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus affinis) (Rhinolophidae) in Vietnam showed major morphological differences from European isolates of I. vespertilionis, including the shape of the scutum, the enclosure and shape of porose areas, the presence of a caudo-lateral collar-like ridge ventrally on the basis capituli, polytrich coxae with short setae, and grouped (non-linear) arrangement of anterior pit sensillae in Haller's organ.In this study the female and the nymph of an ixodid bat tick species from Vietnam are described for the first time. The genetic and morphological differences between I. vespertilionis Koch, 1844 and these bat ticks from Vietnam justify the status of the latter as a distinct species, Ixodes collaris Hornok n. sp.
Project description:Vibrational communication is known in some subterranean insects. Except for their use in sexual signaling, vibration behavior has rarely been reported. We report here four distinct types of substrate-based vibration behaviors in the mole cricket, Gryllotalpa orientalis, which are not associated with sexual signaling because of the occurrence of these behaviors in nymphs: (1) scraping with the forelegs; (2) foreleg taps (tapping with the forelegs); (3) palpal taps (tapping with the maxillary palpi); and (4) tremulation (back-and-forth movement of the whole body). Scraping is hypothesized to be used for the inspection of borrows. Foreleg taps are possibly informing nearby individuals of their presence, because it is never observed in solitary conditions. Palpal taps are rarely observed and its function is unknown. Tremulation is possibly related to avoidance of conspecific individual approaching and touching. The combination of the four vibration behaviors in the mole cricket may be unique among insects.
Project description:Spider males have evolved a remarkable way of transferring sperm by using a modified part of their pedipalps, the so-called palpal organ. The palpal organ is ontogenetically derived from tarsal claws; however, no nerves, sensory organs or muscles have been detected in the palpal bulb so far, suggesting that the spider male copulatory organ is numb and sensorily blind. Here, we document the presence of neurons and a nerve inside the male palpal organ of a spider for the first time. Several neurons that are located in the embolus are attached to the surrounding cuticle where stresses and strains lead to a deformation (stretching) of the palpal cuticle on a local scale, suggesting a putative proprioreceptive function. Consequently, the male copulatory organ of this species is not just a numb structure but likely able to directly perceive sensory input during sperm transfer. In addition, we identified two glands in the palpal organ, one of which is located in the embolus (embolus gland). The embolus gland appears to be directly innervated, which could allow for rapid modulation of secretory activity. Thus, we hypothesize that the transferred seminal fluid can be modulated to influence female processes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite the increasingly recognized eco-epidemiological significance of bats, data from molecular analyses of vector-borne bacteria in bat ectoparasites are lacking from several regions of the Old and New Worlds. METHODS:During this study, six species of ticks (630 specimens) were collected from bats in Hungary, Romania, Italy, Kenya, South Africa, China, Vietnam and Mexico. DNA was extracted from these ticks and analyzed for vector-borne bacteria with real-time PCRs (screening), as well as conventional PCRs and sequencing (for pathogen identification), based on the amplification of various genetic markers. RESULTS:In the screening assays, Rickettsia DNA was only detected in bat soft ticks, whereas Anaplasma phagocytophilum and haemoplasma DNA were present exclusively in hard ticks. Bartonella DNA was significantly more frequently amplified from hard ticks than from soft ticks of bats. In addition to Rickettsia helvetica detected by a species-specific PCR, sequencing identified four Rickettsia species in soft ticks, including a Rickettsia africae-like genotype (in association with a bat species, which is not known to migrate to Africa), three haemotropic Mycoplasma genotypes in Ixodes simplex, and Bartonella genotypes in I. ariadnae and I. vespertilionis. CONCLUSIONS:Rickettsiae (from both the spotted fever and the R. felis groups) appear to be associated with soft rather than hard ticks of bats, as opposed to bartonellae. Two tick-borne zoonotic pathogens (R. helvetica and A. phagocytophilum) have been detected for the first time in bat ticks. The present findings add Asia (China) to the geographical range of R. lusitaniae, as well as indicate the occurrence of R. hoogstraalii in South Africa. This is also the first molecular evidence for the autochthonous occurrence of a R. africae-like genotype in Europe. Bat haemoplasmas, which are closely related to haemoplasmas previously identified in bats in Spain and to "Candidatus Mycoplasma haemohominis", are reported here for the first time from Central Europe and from any bat tick.
Project description:A new genus Evemphyron Alonso-Zarazaga, Lv & Wang, gen. n., belonging to Attelabidae Rhynchitinae, is described. Its single species, Evemphyron sinense Alonso-Zarazaga, Lv & Wang, sp. n., was reared from larvae found inside seed pods of the legume Callerya dielsiana (Fabaceae, Millettieae) in Sichuan Province (China). The species is figured and placed in the Deporaini because of the presence of minute labial palpi, the strongly crescentic apex of the postmentum, and the apodemes of male IX sternite and female VIII sternite curved sinistro-anterially near their cephalic end. It shows 3-segmented labial palpi and male sex patches on the procoxae, characters that suggest a basal position in the tribe.