Soft Ticks as Parasites and Vectors
Soft ticks (Argasidae) constitute the second family of ticks in terms of diversity, including near 215 extant species. However, this account could be underestimated since from 2008 at least one species per year has been described. Studies on the biology (feeding habits, saliva, morphology), and systematics of these leathery parasites have provided insights to the understanding of tick evolution.
Soft ticks are secretive parasites adapted to feeding on terrestrial vertebrates, including birds and bats, and are relevant for veterinary and human health. They can starve for years, and harbor a plethora of microorganisms, including the closest relatives to Coxiella burnetii; relapsing fever group Borrelia spp.; Rickettsia spp. of unknown pathogenic roles; and African swine fever virus.
Novel sequencing technologies for the study of mitochondrial genomes have brought major insight into old taxonomic problems in the Argasidae family. Integrated with classical morphological studies, mitogenomes would constitute suitable tools to refine our understanding on soft tick systematics. On the other hand, a genomic approach has also shed light on microorganisms harbored/vectored by this family of ticks, accounting for novel species of rickettsiae and borreliae. These findings are gradually filling gaps in the knowledge of tick-associated bacteria, and how these microorganisms interact with different tick species.
The goal of the current Research Topic is to cover recent and novel studies on soft ticks that will bring insight into systematics, biology, ecology, and vector roles of argasid ticks. We welcome:
• Original Research Articles dealing with soft ticks, primarily on biology, ecology, physiology, taxonomy, and their role as vectors of bacteria or viruses, including: descriptions of new species, studies on biological cycles, cross mating experiments, isolations or molecular characterizations of associated microorganisms, and vector competence assays.
• Reviews or Mini Reviews emphasizing relevant work over the decades, giving reasonable perspectives and directions on how future research should be conducted to fill current gaps.
• Perspectives: short articles that look at specific areas of research within this Research Topic and can discuss current advances and future directions.
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Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research