Research Article

In vitro feeding of Dermacentor andersoni (Stiles): effects of histamine and other mediators

S. H. Painea1, D. H. Kempa1* and J. R. Allena1

a1 Department of Veterinary Microbiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon S7N 0W0, Canada


Female Dermacentor andersoni were induced to feed on defibrinated bovine blood through fixed mouse skin membranes. Their feeding behaviour was recorded electronically, the tick being incorporated into the circuit and acting as a variable resistor during the periods of sucking, salivation and rest. Recordings of the feeding behaviour of these ticks were similar to those of ticks feeding on rabbits. Known concentrations of histamine, serotonin, dopamine, prostaglandin E1 and prostaglandin F were added singly or in combination to the feeding medium of ticks attached to the mouse skin membrane. Addition of both histamine and serotonin was followed by a significant reduction in the amplitude or recordings associated with sucking and salivation. The concentration of mediators producing this effect was less than 10 mM, a concentration comparable to that of histamine found locally in the skin of tick-resistant guinea-pigs. Comparisons are made between the effects produced by these mediators in ticks and the effects of serotonin and other amines known to produce modulation of complex behaviour patterns in other invertebrates.

(Accepted November 19 1982)


* CSIRO, Division of Tropical Animal Science, Long Pocket Laboratories, Private Bag no. 3, Indooroopilly, Queensland 4068, Australia.