So I’m done studying for the Parasitology laboratory exam that I have tomorrow (or should I say later today! It’s morning here already… =P). To be specific, I don’t only study parasites in my VPAR 131 class. The class is actually entitled Veterinary Entomology & Protozoology. So not only do I have to learn about the different types of parasites that affect different species of animals; I also have to learn about what they particularly transmit and what diseases they may cause.
So here are some interesting things I’ve learned from the 13 lab exercises that I’ve pored over. I’ll give you all one item per exercise.
- Insect Morphology – The cockroach is a good specimen to study general insect anatomy since its morphology has stayed relatively primitive and therefore basic throughout the years. This serves as a good starting off point when first learning about parasitology.
- Mosquitoes – Anopheles spp. has spotted wings and Aedes spp. is known as the “Tiger Mosquito” due to its distinct banded legs.
- Sandflies, Biting Midges & Blackflies – All of these are small flies measuring 1-5mm long. That means they are able to bypass regular mosquito nets and fit through those tiny holes!
- Houseflies, Stableflies and Buffaloflies – Musca domestica has 4 solid bands on its thorax, has a 3-segmented antenna, no maxilla and mandible and constantly regurgitates on every food source it lands on. Gross!
- Tabanids or Horseflies – Chrysops spp. has two common species, C. dispar and C. signifer. One can be distinguished from the other since C. dispar has an inverted-V marking on its dorsal abdomen, while C. signifer has a ring-like marking on the dorsum of the abdomen.
- Myiasis Flies – In Sarcophaga spp., males can be distinguished from females grossly by looking looking for very prominent, bright red genitalia (the hypopygium) on its posterior end.
- Larvae of Other Myiasis Flies – In Hypoderma spp., there is an absence of oral hooks and the presence of flat tubercles and small spines on all segments except the last one in H. lineatum and the last two in H. bovis.
- Posterior Stigmal Plates of Myiasis-Causing Larvae – In examining stigmal plates, one should examine the shape and distance between them, the shape, number and orientation of spiracular slits, the degree of sclerotization and completeness of the peritreme ring and the character of the buttons. (This is kind of funny to me because stigmal plates are basically the “ass prints” of these insects. Ha!)
- Hippoboscid Flies – Pseudolynchia canariensis (the pigeon louse fly) is the intermediate host of Haemoproteus columbae, a blood protozoan of pigeon and the causative agent of pigeon malaria.
- Bedbugs and Kissing Bugs – The common bed bug (Cimex spp.) females have a copulatory orifice that contains two organs: the outer organ of Ribaga and an inner organ of Berlese.
- Fleas – The flea Xenopsylla cheopsis (rat flea) was responsible for helping transmit the Bubonic Plague in man since it was a mechanical vector of Pasteurella (Yersinia) pestis.
- Sucking Lice of Mammals (Suborder Anoplura) – Family Haematopinidae has paratergal plates and all pairs of legs are equal in size. This is not the case with Family Linognathidae.
- Chewing (Biting) Lice of Mammals (Suborder Mallophaga) – In Subfamily Amblycera, Heterodoxus longitarsus stands out since its head is triangular. This louse affects dogs and wallabys.
Yeah, pretty interesting huh? There were a lot more cool things that I’ve learned about these parasites in the course, but I’m a little tired and it’s 1:24 in the morning. I have to wake up for my 9am Pathology lab later so I’m going to hit the sack.
I hope you enjoyed this little lesson in Parasitology! Now off to bed for me!