Under a magnification of 193X, four times that of PHIL 9960, 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. Note here, and more so 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. Seen clearly in this image are the ridges that run along the distal abdominal border, and are known as 'festoons', and are one of the identifying characteristics used to classify hard, or Ixodid ticks.
CDC/ Callie Carr
November 27, 2012
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