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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » Cattle Fever Tick Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #376857

Research Project: Integrated Pest Management of Cattle Fever Ticks

Location: Cattle Fever Tick Research Unit

Title: Pictorial dissection guide and internal anatomy of the southern Cattle Fever Tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Canestrini)

item Tidwell, Jason
item Trevino, Diana
item Thomas, Donald
item Mitchell Iii, Robert
item Heerman, Matthew
item Perez De Leon, Adalberto - Beto
item Lohmeyer, Kimberly - Kim

Submitted to: Ticks and Tick Borne Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/23/2021
Publication Date: 3/1/2021
Publication URL:
Citation: Tidwell, J.P., Trevino, D.E., Thomas, D.B., Mitchell III, R.D., Heerman, M.C., Perez De Leon, A.A., Lohmeyer, K.H. 2021. Pictorial dissection guide and internal anatomy of the southern Cattle Fever Tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Canestrini). Ticks and Tick Borne Diseases. 12.

Interpretive Summary: Ticks are pests and spread diseases that are important to veterinary and public health. The southern cattle fever tick is one of the most economically important vectors for disease in the agriculture industry, impacting the health and production of livestock in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Over reliance on pesticides to control the southern cattle fever tick has resulted in selection for resistance, meaning that the available chemical products are no longer effective. In order to utilize the latest non-chemical control methods, there is a need to be able to isolate internal tick tissues. There are a limited number of manuals available to dissect ticks that also provide a detailed pictorial view of the internal anatomy. This new manual provides information on the internal anatomy and illustrates the differences between the developmental adult stages of the cattle fever tick.

Technical Abstract: Ticks are pests and vectors of diseases that are of public health and veterinary importance. The southern cattle fever tick, Rhipicephalus microplus, was described in 1888 by Canestrini and has since become one of the most studied tick species because of its impact on livestock health and production in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world, costing the cattle industry billions annually. Control methods have evolved throughout the years but so has R. microplus. Reliance upon chemical control has created a consistent need to develop new technologies to overcome the chemical resistance that occurs as the ticks adapt. In order to utilize the most advanced technologies such as RNAi or Crispr/Cas9 systems, tick tissues need to be isolated and manipulated. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of pictorial guides available to dissect R. microplus that also provide a detailed view of its internal anatomy. This manual includes detailed pictures to guide the dissection of R. microplus adults, male and female. Topography and anatomical differences between the internal organs of unfed and gravid adult females are described. We were able to locate the crucial tissues for cattle tick physiology and lay out spatial and temporal guidelines for their identification and removal. Examples of how this information is used as the nexus between organismal and molecular research to innovate R. microplus control technologies are described.