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Hormonal control of tick development and reproduction

  • H. H. REES (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 October 2004

Ecdysteroids (moulting hormones), juvenoids and neuropeptides in ticks are reviewed but, by far, the emphasis is on the former since this class of hormones has been the subject of most investigations. In immature stages of ticks, ecdysteroids have been shown to regulate moulting and to terminate larval diapause. Although there is a paucity of information on the molecular action of ecdysteroids in ticks, their action appears to be via a heterodimeric ecdysone/ultraspiracle receptor, as in insects. The role of ecdysteroids in sperm maturation in adult males is considered. In females, ecdysteroids function in the regulation of salivary glands, of production of sex pheromones and of oogenesis and oviposition. There is evidence for ecdysteroid production in the integument and pathways of hormone inactivation are similar to those in insects. Ecdysteroids also function in embryogenesis. Although evidence for the occurrence and functioning of juvenile hormones in ticks has been contradictory, in recent thorough work it has not been possible to detect known juvenile hormones in ticks, nor to demonstrate effects of extracts on insects. Factors (neuropeptides) from the synganglion affect physiological processes and limited immunocytochemical studies are reviewed. Sigificantly, a G-protein-coupled receptor has been cloned, expressed, and specifically responds to myokinins.

Corresponding author
Professor H. H. Rees, School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Biosciences Building, Crown Street, Liverpool, L69 7ZB. Tel: 0151-795-4465. Fax: 0151-795-4406. E-mail:
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