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Revista Brasileira de Parasitologia Veterinária

On-line version ISSN 1984-2961

Rev. Bras. Parasitol. Vet. vol.17 no.1 Jaboticabal Jan./Mar. 2008 



Comments on the validity of Haemaphysalis cinnabarina Koch, 1844 (Acari: Ixodidae), a taxon known solely by the type specimens from Northern Brazil


Comentários sobre a validade de Haemaphysalis cinnabarina Koch, 1844 (Acari: Ixodidae) um táxon conhecido somente pelos espécimes tipos do Norte do Brasil



Darci M. Barros-BattestiI; Valeria C. OnofrioI; Márcia ArzuaII; Marcelo B. LabrunaIII

ILaboratório de Parasitologia, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brasil 1500, 05503-900 São Paulo, SP
IIMuseu de História Natural Capão da Imbuia, Rua Benedito Conceição 407, 82810-080 Curitiba, PR
IIIDepartamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva e Saúde Animal, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Prof. Orlando M. de Paiva 87, 05508-270 São Paulo, SP




The types of Haemaphysalis cinnabarina Koch and its junior synonym H. sanguinolenta Koch, both from State of Pará, Brazil, have been studied. Although H. cinnabarina has been considered a synonym of H. punctata Canestrini and Fanzago (a Palearctic species), they were compared to another closely related species H. chordeilis (Packard) (a Nearctic species). Based on the morphology and geographical distance among of H. cinnabarina, H. chordeilis and H. punctata, we are reasonably sure that all are valid taxa. The lack of additional reports of H. cinnabarina is more related to few investigations in South America, mainly in Northern Brazil, rather than suggesting that it does not exist.

Key words: Haemaphysalis cinnabarina, Northern Brazil, taxonomic revaluation.


Os tipos de Haemaphysalis cinnabarina Koch e da espécie sinônima H. sanguinolenta Koch, ambos do Estado do Pará, Brasil, foram estudados. Embora H. cinnabarina tenha sido considerada uma sinonímia de H. punctata Canestrini e Fanzago (uma espécie Paleártica), elas foram comparadas a uma outra espécie próxima, H. chordeilis (Packard) (uma espécie Neártica). Com base em morfologia e distância geográfica entre H. cinnabarina, H. chordeilis e H. punctata, consideramos válidos os três taxa. A ausência de relatos adicionais de H. cinnabarina está mais relacionada à ausência de investigações na América do Sul, principalmente no Norte do Brasil, do que a sugestão da sua não existência.

Palavras-chave: Haemaphysalis cinnabarina, Brasil, revalidação taxonômica



The genus Haemaphysalis Koch, 1844 is represented by about 160 known species in the world. From those, only four species have been reported in the Americas, with three of them occurring in the Neotropical region (ONOFRIO et al., 2006). Haemaphysalis cinnabarina Koch, 1844 and its synonym H. sanguinolenta Koch, 1844 were the first Haemaphysalis species described in the Americas (KOCH 1844). Besides H. cinnabarina, the species H. juxtakochi Cooley, 1946 and H. leporispalustris (Packard, 1869) are commonly found in the Neotropical region. The later species is also common in the Nearctic region. According to Keirans and Restifo (1993), only H. chordeilis (Packard, 1869) and H. leporispalustris are known for this genus in the Nearctic region.

Nuttall and Warburton (1915) considered H. punctata Canestrini and Fanzago, 1878 (Palearctic), H. chordeilis, and H. sanguinolenta as junior synonyms of H. cinnabarina. Bishopp and Trembley (1945) reported a confusion regarding to H. cinnabarina and H. chordeilis, but they indicated the possibility that these species could be present in North America. Subsequently, Cooley (1946) examined two engorged specimens labeled as types from Massachusetts and he concluded those specimens were the common bird tick H. chordeilis. This author also commented that Nuttall and Warburton (1915) were precipitated to adopt H. cinnabarina as a valid taxon because they did not see the types of H. chordeilis. Aragão (1911) included H. cinnabarina among the Brazilian tick fauna, but according to Cooley (1946) no worker after Aragão (1911) had cited this species in listings of ticks from South and Central Americas. Although this taxon had gradually been abandoned, Hoogstraal (1973) validated and redescribed the species after a detailed study of the holotype female and of its junior synonym H. sanguinolenta. In addition, he compared H. cinnabarina with H. punctata, H. chordeilis and H. cornupunctata Hoogstraal and Varma, 1962 from Hymalaia, all of them included in the subgenus Aboimisalis Dias, 1963. On the other hand, subsequent works retained H. cinnabarina as synonym of H. punctata (KEIRANS 1992, HORAK et al., 2002, GUGLIELMONE et al., 2003) without apparent reasons for such decision. Whereas Camicas at al. (1998) and, Barker and Murrell (2004) considered H. cinnabarina a valid taxon but without a definitive morphologic study.

In order to confirm the taxon for Brazil, the types of H. cinnabarina and its synonym H. sanguinlenta were recently revised during a visit to the Berlin Museum, and they were also compared to the closely related species H. chordeilis and H. punctata.

The type females of H. cinnabarina and H. sanguinolenta, labeled as from "Para, Brazilien", are deposited under the numbers ZMB 1105 and ZMB 8532, respectively. Material of H. punctata (2 males and 2 females, Kirgizia, Russia, collected free on the vegetation in 1985), and of H. chordeilis (3 females, Levinston, ME, USA, collected in 1931) deposited at the Acari Collection from Instituto Butantan, under the numbers IBSP 7669 and IBSP 1073, respectively, were also examined.

Although lacking the hypostome in the types of H. cinnabarina and H. sanguinolenta other taxonomic characters could be observed as the presence of 6 ventral palpi setae on article II and the length of the ventrointernal setae that is more than one-half as long as palpal breadth in both specimens. These features are in accordance with Hoogstraal (1973) who supported the synonymy proposed by Nuttall and Warburton (1915). That author also cited dental formula 6/6 for both specimens. In fact the females of H. cinnabarina and H. punctata are closely related but they could be readily distinct because this species as well as H. chordeilis have dental formula 5/5, ventrointernal setae less than one-half as long as palpal breadth, and 3 ventral setae on palpal femur (article II). Haemaphysalis chordeilis differs from H. punctata by having scutum with numerous punctuations regularly distributed and by the presence of corners on posterolateral margins, while H. punctata has scutum with less punctations and the corners on posterolateral margins are absent.

On the other hand, the dental formula is not enough to separate species because it appears to be inconstant to this genus as previously observed by Kohls (1960) who synonymyzed H. kochi Aragão, 1908 with H. juxtakochi; these two taxa had been differentiated by only the dental formula, being 5/5 in H. kochi and 4/4 in H. juxtakochi. According to Kohls (1960), the later name became valid since the former name was preoccupied by H. concinna var. kochi Neumann, 1905.

Based on the morphology and the geographical distribution and distance among of H. cinnabarina, H. chordeilis and H. punctata, we are reasonably sure that the lack of reports about H. cinnabarina is more related to few investigations in South America, mainly in Northern Brazil, rather than suggesting that it is not valid, as previously commented by Hoogstraal (1973).

Aknowledgements:-To Jason A. Dunlop, Museum für Naturkunde Zentralinstitut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin who provided us with the types of H. cinnabarina and H. sanguinolenta. We are also grateful to G.V. Kolonin for donating specimens of H. punctata.



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Received on January 11, 2007.
Accepted for publication on December 19, 2007.

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