Observations on the Development of Babesia caballi (Nuttall) in the Tropical Horse Tick Dermacentor nitens Neumann

Authors

  • A. A. HOLBROOK,

    1. Beltsville Parasitological Laboratory, Animal Disease and Parasite Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland, USA
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    • Animal Disease and Parasite Research Division.

  • D. W. ANTHONY,

    1. Beltsville Parasitological Laboratory, Animal Disease and Parasite Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland, USA
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    • Entomology Research Division.

  • A. J. JOHNSON

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    • Animal Disease and Parasite Research Division.


  • We acknowledge the technical assistance of R. Moore, D. Davis, O. McGaha (Animal Disease and Parasite Research Division), and W. Denny (Entomology Research Division).

Abstract

SYNOPSIS. The development of Babesia caballi (Nuttall) in Dermacentor nitens Neumann was studied in smear preparations and histologic sections of ticks infected with this protozoan parasite. A majority of the parasites in equine erythrocytes ingested by the adult ticks apparently were destroyed. Smal spherical bodies 4–6 μ in diameter were the 1st developmental stages of B. caballi observed in the gut contents of ticks infected with this parasite. These spherical bodies apparently gave rise to clavate (club-shaped) bodies 10–14 μ long by 4–6 μ wide. The latter developed into large round bodies 12–16 μ in diameter that segmented into vermicular-shaped parasites, about 8–12 μ long by 2–4 μ wide; some penetrated the gut wall, some invaded other cells of the tick.

In the cells of the Malpighian tubules, hemolymph, and ovaries, the vermicular parasites underwent a secondary cycle of multiple fission, forming vermicules similar to those occurring earlier in the gut. Vermicules that invaded the ova underwent a similar multiple fission cycle during the larval stage of the tick.

Vermicules from the multiple fission cycle that occurred during the period of larval feeding invaded the salivary glands. A multiple fission cycle of increase within these glands resulted in large numbers of small, oval and piriform parasites, 2.5–3 μ, maximum dimension. These parasites became mixed with the salivary secretions, and presumably are the forms injected into the horse by the nymphs as they feed. The small oval and piriform parasites therefore appear to be the infective stage for the horse.

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