Ticks use bloodmeals as a source of nutrients and energy to molt and survive until the next meal and to oviposit, in the case of females. However, only the larvae of some tick species are known to feed upon bats; females are obligatorily autogenous, and nymphal stages are believed to not feed. We investigated the presence of blood in a natural population of nymphal Antricola delacruzi ticks collected from bat guano; their ability to feed upon laboratory hosts; and the microscopic structure of both salivary glands and gut. DNA amplification of gut contents of freshly collected material was positive for a mammal in 4 of 11 first instar nymphs, but we were unsuccesful in the amplification of host bloodmeal DNA from late instar nymphs. All early nymphal stages (n = 10) fed on rabbits, and host DNA was detected and sequenced from gut contents. However, all the large nymphs (n = 10) rejected feeding, and host DNA remained undetected in these ticks. All stages of A. delacruzi have salivary glands similar in morphology to the ixodid agranular Type I salivary gland acini and to granular Type II or Type B acini. All stages of A. delacruzi had a similar gut structure, consisting of digestive cells in the basal portion that contained hematin granules. Neither regenerative nor secretory cell traces were observed in the sections of gut.

You do not currently have access to this content.