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Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Vol. 109, No.
2, 2012; Pages: 248 - 259

Comparative studies on the invasion of cattle ticks (Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus) and sheep blowflies (Lucilia cuprina) by Metarhizium anisopliae (Sorokin)

D.M. Leemon, N.N. Jonsson

Agri-Science Queensland, DEEDI Ecosciences Precinct, GPO Box 267, Brisbane Qld 4001, Australia.


Microscopic investigations over time were carried out to study and compare the pathogenesis of invasion of ticks and blowflies by Metarhizium anisopliae. The scanning electron microscope and stereo light microscope were used to observe and record processes on the arthropods’ surfaces and the compound light microscope was used to observe and record processes within the body cavities. Two distinctly different patterns of invasion were found in ticks and blowflies. Fungal conidia germinated on the surface of ticks then hyphae simultaneously penetrated into the tick body and grew across the tick surface. There was extensive fungal degradation of the tick cuticle, particularly the outer endocuticle. Although large numbers of conidia adhered to the surface of blowflies, no conidia were seen to germinate on external surfaces. A single germinating conidium was seen in the entrance to the buccal cavity. Investigations of the fly interior revealed a higher density of hyphal bodies in the haemolymph surrounding the buccal cavity than in haemolymph from regions of the upper thorax. This pattern suggests that fungal invasion of the blowfly is primarily through the buccal cavity. Plentiful extracellular mucilage was seen around the hyphae on tick cuticles, and crystals of calcium oxalate were seen amongst the hyphae on the surface of ticks and in the haemolymph of blowflies killed by M. anisopliae isolate ARIM16.

Keywords: Lucilia cuprina; Rhipicephalus microplus; Metarhizium anisopliae; Pathogenesis; SEM; Microscopy



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