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ticks and ultra sound

Can a tick detect sounds and vibrations???

“Some tick species respond to sounds within a particular range of frequencies. B. microplus larvae are highly responsive to sounds in the 80-800 Hz range, frequencies commonly emitted by feeding cattle, while Rhipicephalus sanguineus(tick specy) are attracted to the sounds made by barking dogs “

Waladde and Rice, 1982.

“Vibrations are also excitatory; rustling the grassy or weedy stems on which ticks are perched in ambush will provoke their characteristic "grabbing" behavior, with the forelegs outstretched to cling to a passing host.”

Sonenshine, Biology of Ticks, 1991, New York

Mechanoreception – Mechanical stimuli are received by sensilla (simple or complex) distributed over the antennae, legs, and body.

Insects – Sensory Organs


Auditory Reception – Very sensitive setae or tympanal organs detect vibrations that come through the substrate or the air.  For example, some moths detect ultrasonic pulses emitted by bats.  They then drop toward the ground in response, to avoid the bats.

Scientific Proof that Ticks can detect sound and respond to it !!!


Above - Scanning electron micrographs of mouthparts of ticks.

6 or 7 sensilla have been found in examined ixodid (hard) ticks. These include multiporous, grooved, fine and non-pore 4 sensilla.
In argasid(soft) ticks, 9-11 sensilla occur in this region. Wall pore sensilla (=olfactosensilla), tip pore sensilla (=gustatory sensilla), tip pore seta (=multifunctional sensilla with gustatory, thermosensory and mechanosensory functions), non-pore sensilla (=thermosensilla and mechanosensilla) and several strictly mechanosensilla are known already.

Hallers Organ - Shown Above is found on the dorsal surface of the tarsi of the leg

Sensory Organs on Ticks

Scientific experiments - proof that ticks react on Sound

Soft tick (left) and Hard tick (right)


Just as ticks use sound to detect their host they are repelled by certain sound frequencies and pulses

Sonenshine, Biology of Ticks, 1991, New York


Mechanosensilla are sensilla that contain neurotubular cytoskeletons. These sensilla have an innervated socket (sensilla chaetica) or non-innervated socket (sensilla basiconica or sensilla trichoidea).
The most common mechanosilla in ticks are the setiform sensilla which occur over the capitulum, body surface, and legs. Others are non-setiform sensilla in the form of a simple socket (= campaniform sensilla or sensilla auriformia) and pore or disc shaped (= chordotonal sensilla).

An unusual structure has been reported to occur on the walking legs II, III and IV in Amblyomma varigatum. Presumably, they are widespread in the Ixodidae. They are thought to detect airborne or substrate vibrations or serve as gravity sensilla.

Mechanosensilla respond to physical contact, i.e. touch,vibration. Often, mechanosensilla occur as parts of multifunctional sensilla, i.e., combined with chemoreceptive dendrites.
Certain Mechanosensilla detect sounds, e.g. in Ornithodoros concanensis. This soft tick responds to sounds within the ranges generated by nestling birds (3000, 5200 and 8000 Hz).

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