Ticks are terrestrial invertebrate parasites that attach to their hosts to feed on their blood. Ticks are composed of three families: Ixodidae, Argasidae, and Nuttalliellidae. Ixodid ticks include members of the genera Amblyomma, Ixodes, Haemaphysalis, Hyalomma, Dermacentor, and Rhipicephalus. Ticks can transmit diseases to animals and humans, making them an important organism to study. Current tick-bite mitigation strategies include acaricides (harmful if misused), and CO2 traps (effective in decreasing tick abundance, but costly to use). Since the visual system of ticks has not been studied extensively, I expect that by studying their visual system, alternative tick-bite mitigation strategies could be developed. In this study, I used the Phylogenetically Informed Annotation (PIA) workflow to analyze the genes present in the phototransduction pathway of hard-bodied ticks from the transcriptome sequences and the whole-genome sequences (WGS). All six of the genera listed above are included. My analyses document the occurrence of opsin proteins, r_opsin, c_opsin, Gq subunits, lark, and ovo genes. These results imply that ticks possess the proteins necessary to sense light, since many of these components enable light-detection in the retinas of animals.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
López Limas, Arimar J., "Phototransduction Components in the Visual System of Hard-bodied Ticks" (2021). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1004.