An in vitro artificial feeding technique for hard ticks is quite useful for studying tick-pathogen interactions. Here, we report a novel semi-artificial feeding technique for the adult parthenogenetic tick, Haemaphysalis longicornis, by using mouse skin membrane. Skin with attached adult ticks was removed from the mouse body at 4 to 5 days post-infestation for the construction of the feeding system. This system was supplied with rabbit blood and kept in >95% relative humidity at 30 °C during the feeding; ticks were fully engorged (artificially engorged, AE) within 12 to 48 h. For comparison, ticks were fed to engorgement solely on live rabbits, over a period of 5 days, as controls (naturally engorged, NE). The groups did not differ in measures of engorgement or reproductive fitness, including body weight, egg mass weight, and conversion ratio. Our results demonstrate that this semi-artificial feeding technique mimics natural feeding processes of ticks and can be utilized as a standardized method to inoculate some reagents and/or pathogens, especially Babesia protozoa, into H. longicornis.
(Bacterial and Parasitic Disease Research Division)
Hatta T. et al. (2012) Parasit. Vectors 5:263(doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-263)