The Haller's organ roof and anterior pit setae of Argas ticks (Ixodoidea: Argasidae). Subgenera Secretargas and Ogadenus

J Parasitol. 1984 Jun;70(3):403-6.


Adults of the Argas subgenera Secretargas (3 species) and Ogadenus (1 species) were studied by scanning electron microscopy. In each species, the anterior pit and Haller's organ are situated in a large dorsal hump of Tarsus I and the 9 setae of the anterior pit are characteristic of the genus Argas in structure and numbers. In A. (S.) transgariepinus, an Ethiopian-Palearctic crevice-dwelling parasite of bats, the Haller's organ capsule roof is solid with a slitlike transverse aperture. In A. (S.) hoogstraali and A. (S.) echinops, Malagasy soil-dwelling parasites of Oplurus (Varanidae) lizards and the hedgehog-tenrec (Insectivora: Tenrecidae), respectively, the Haller's organ is virtually unroofed but partially screened by arborescent dorsal projections from the posterior wall of the capsule, and the open capsule contains numerous fine pleomorphs. In A. (O.) brumpti, a soil-dwelling parasite of the hyrax (Procavia), other terrestrial mammals, and lizards in the Ethiopian Region, the capsule is also virtually unroofed and contains numerous fine pleomorphs. The unroofed capsule is probably phylogenetically primitive and occurs only in these 3 and 2 other Argas species. The soil microhabitat (in Argas confined to 3 of the 4 species recorded here), and the reptile or ancient mammal hosts of these 3 species, as well as the zoogeographical isolation of 2 of the species in the Malagasy Region, are distinctive in this genus of 56 species. The interrelationships between an unroofed Haller's organ capsule and unusual biological properties remain to be determined.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ecology
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / ultrastructure
  • Species Specificity
  • Ticks / anatomy & histology*
  • Ticks / physiology
  • Ticks / ultrastructure