Under a magnification of 3206X, four times greater than PHIL 9965, this scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted a dorsal view of an unidentified male Dermacentor sp. tick found upon a cat in the suburbs of Decatur, Georgia, which measured approximately 3.5mm from its gnathosoma (i.e., capitulum), which is where its mouthparts are located, to the distal abdominal margin (PHIL 9961). Note in PHIL 9959 and 9960, that the entire dorsum of this tick's abdomen is covered by its tough 'scutum', or 'shield', categorizing it as a male. In female Ixodid-species ticks, the scutum only partially covers the dorsal abdomen. Revealed in this image is the base of the hypostome, which is one of the tick's mouthparts that acts to pierce the host skin surface, thereby, anchoring the tick to the host as it obtains its blood meal. See PHIL 9964 for another view of the foliated hypostomal surface, which begins here as small scales.
CDC/ Callie Carr
November 27, 2012
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