U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Main content area

Pictorial dissection guide and internal anatomy of the cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Canestrini)

Jason P. Tidwell, Diana E. Treviño, Donald B. Thomas, Robert D. Mitchell, Matthew C. Heerman, Adalberto Pérez de León, Kimberly H. Lohmeyer
Ticks and tick-borne diseases 2021 v.12 no.3 pp. 101685
CRISPR-Cas systems, Rhipicephalus microplus, adults, cattle industry, chemical control, dissection, females, livestock, males, pesticide resistance, public health, tick control, ticks, topography
Ticks are pests and vectors of diseases that are of public health and veterinary importance. The cattle tick, Rhipicephalus microplus (Canestrini, 1888), is one of the most studied tick species because of its impact on livestock health and production in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world, costing the cattle industry billions annually. Control methods have evolved throughout the years but so has R. microplus. Reliance upon chemical control has created a consistent need to develop new technologies to overcome the pesticide resistance that occurs as the ticks adapt. In order to utilize the more advanced tools such as RNAi or Crispr/Cas9 systems, tick tissues need to be isolated and manipulated. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of dissection guides available providing a detailed view of tick internal anatomy. This manual includes photomicrographs to guide the dissection of R. microplus adults, male and female. Topography and anatomical differences between the internal organs of unfed and gravid adult females are described. We were able to locate the crucial tissues for cattle tick physiology and lay out spatial and temporal guidelines for their identification and dissection. Examples of how this information can be used at the nexus between organismal and molecular research to innovate tick control technologies is discussed.