Experimental & Applied Acarology

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 83–104 | Cite as

Ultrastructure of type-I salivary-gland acini in four species of ticks and the influence of hydration states on the type-I acini ofAmblyomma americanum

  • Glen R. Needham
  • Rosemarie Rosell
  • Lewis Greenwald


We describe the ultrastructure of type-I salivary-gland acini in two argasid and two ixodid species. The basic cell types in the agranular or type-I acini, and their associations, are very similar in argasids and ixodids; therefore, we propose an anatomical nomenclature for cells in the type-I acinus based on the adult ixodidsAmblyomma americanum andDermacentor variabilis, and the argasid adultArgas (Persicargas) arboreus and on nymphalOrnithodoros moubata. Four cell types were present in all specimens: one central lamellate cell, a variable number of peripheral lamellate cells, a variable number of peritubular cells depending on the species, and one circumlumenal cell. The lamellate cells had infolded basal plasma membranes that presented an amplified surface area to the hemolymph. These cells most likely secreted the fluid involved in water vapor uptake by ticks. ForAmblyomma americanum females, abundant K+-dependent, ouabain-sensitive Na+, K+-ATPase complexes were located on the infolded basal plasma membranes of the lamellate cells. Apical membranes of the lamellate cells, and plasma membranes of other cell types in the acinus had little or no evidence of Na+, K+-ATPase activity. Only the central lamellate cell extended from the hemolymph of the acinus to its lumen; peripheral cells did not contact the lumen. Except when the ticks were rehydrating, lipid inclusions were common features in the lamellate cells of the ixodids. Lipid inclusions were not seen in argasid type I acini; however, glycogen deposits were common. To determine if acinar cells respond to the changing hydration state of the tick, unfed femaleA. americanum were subjected to dehydration/rehydrating conditions. During rehydration, mitochondria in the lamellate cells changed from a matrix of medium electron-density and intermembrane space (orthodox configuration) to a matrix of greater density and larger intermembrane space (condensed configuration). The orthodox configuration was consistently observed in control and dehydrating ticks. The condensed configuration was the norm for mitochondria in lamellate cells of rehydrating ticks. Lipid inclusions were depleted in the rehydrating ticks compared to control or dehydrating ticks. Acini appeared to be reverting to the control or desiccated state when ticks were returned to low humidity, suggesting that these changes were cyclical. Nymphs ofO. moubata subjected to the same dehydration/rehydrating conditions showed no obvious ultrastructural changes.


Hydration State Intermembrane Space Lipid Inclusion Glycogen Deposit Basal Plasma Membrane 
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Copyright information

© Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glen R. Needham
    • 1
  • Rosemarie Rosell
    • 2
  • Lewis Greenwald
    • 3
  1. 1.Acarology Laboratory, Department of Entomology, Colleges of Agriculture and Biological SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Center for Electron MicroscopyMemphis State UniversityMemphisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Zoology, College of Biological SciencesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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