Tick Hypostome : 2013

Photograph by

Gerd A. Guenther

About this image

Polarised light micrograph of the end of a hypostome of a Castor Bean Tick, Ixodes ricinus. The segment seen here is about 0.1mm long. The hypostome is a piercing mouth part common to certain arthropods such as ticks and mites. They are used to pierce the skin in search of blood, the harpoon-like projections allowing the insect to remain attached to the host during feeding. If the tick is removed incorrectly, this segment of hypostome can break off and remain in the skin, causing infection. I. ricinus is the largest of three common tick species in the United Kingdom. This image was captured using a Leica DMLB microscope with polarised light illumination and a Canon digital camera. Düsseldorf, Germany