2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Science

Anaerobic Metabolism of the Dog Tick, Dermacentor variabilis
Robbi A. Kupfer
Dr. Laura Fielden and Dr. Daniel Hite, Faculty Mentors

In their natural habitat, adult dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) demonstrate the remarkable ability to survive submergence in water for prolonged periods of time during their off-host fasting stages. Laboratory studies have further demonstrated that unfed adults can survive up to 48h in complete anoxia. This study proposes that survival under conditions of hypoxia and anoxia is due to the utilization of anaerobic metabolism in D. variabilis. Lactic acid production was used as an indicator of anaerobic metabolism in unfed female ticks exposed to pure N2 gas for durations ranging from 6h to 24h. Experimental results show an anoxic effect: lactic acid production was directly proportional to duration of anoxia until 18h of exposure; levels then decreased as durations approached 24h. These findings are consistent with the increased utilization of anaerobic metabolism as anoxia increasingly affects the tick’s physiology.

Keywords: insect physiology, anaerobic metabolism

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 11-4
Location: VH 1010
Time: 9:15

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