We examined a parthenogenetic strain of the hard tick Ixodes woodi Bishopp for the presence of endosymbiotic bacteria. Electron microscopic examination revealed the ovarian tissues and Malpighian tubules were infected with pleomorphic bacteria. Two basic types were observed: a larger granular cell and a smaller condensed cell. Cloning and sequence analysis of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplified 16S rRNA gene yielded a single sequence from bacteria present in I. woodi tissues. Phylogenetic analysis of the nearly complete 16S rDNA indicated that the ticks were infected with an endosymbiont belonging to the gamma subdivision of the Proteobacteria. It clustered with the insect pathogenic species Rickettsiella grylli (Vago and Martoja 1963) and the animal pathogen Coxiella burnetii (Derrick 1939) Philip 1948. Our results suggest that the I. woodi females harbored a single endosymbiotic bacterium related to selected Rickettsiella species and to C. burnetii.
- Ixodes woodi