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J Insect Physiol. 2001 Nov;47(11):1261-1267.

The relationship between 'critical weight' and 20-hydroxyecdysone in the female ixodid tick, Amblyomma hebraeum.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Alberta, T6G 2E9, Edmonton, Canada


THE FEEDING CYCLE OF ADULT FEMALE TICKS (ACARI: Ixodidae) is divided into preparatory, slow and rapid feeding phases. At the transition from slow to rapid feeding, Amblyomma hebraeum (Koch) females reach a 'critical weight' (CW; approx. 10x the unfed weight) that is characterized by several behavioural and physiological changes. Five of these changes were used as criteria to establish a more precise estimate of CW than we have to date. The CW as defined by re-attachment to the host was 9x the unfed weight, while for haemolymph ecdysteroid titre, salivary gland degeneration, ovary weight, oocyte length and oocyte vitellin content the CW was 10x, 10x, 12x, 12x and 13x, respectively. CW thus varies depending on the parameter measured. Although previous studies have established the influence of ecdysteroids on salivary gland degeneration and vitellogenesis, here we demonstrate a further effect of ecdysteroids: inhibiting re-attachment to the host.

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