Introduction. This study represents a preliminary inquiry on tick fauna composition carried out in Maremma, Central Italy, where very few data are available. Materials and methods. The study area was selected in the limestone hills surrounding Tarquinia town, on the base of suitable elements directly affecting the tick occurrence and the possible circulation of tick-borne pathogens, such as wild cattle rearing, kind of vegetation and human activities. Since a proper understanding of tick ecology is critical in predicting the risk of tick-borne pathogen transmission in a given area, a series of surveys was planned in such area in 2011. Results. One hundred fifty-four ticks belonging to 4 genera and 6 species, namely Ixodes ricinus (n. = 109; 70%), Rhipicephalus bursa (n. = 18; 12%), Rhipicephalus turanicus (n. = 14; 9%), Rhipicephalus sanguineus (n. = 6; 4%), Hyalomma marginatum (n. = 4; 3%) and Dermacentor marginatus (n. = 3; 2%) were identified and reported for the area. Discussion. The results of this acarological research represent a significant contribution to the knowledge of the tick fauna of rural areas in Northern Lazio Region, as first step toward a future molecular investigation on pathogen circulation.
The morphology of the spiracles of fourth instar larva in eight sandfly species were examined by light and scanning electron microscopy. Species studied were: Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva), L. ovallesi (Ortiz), L. youngi Feliciangeli & Murillo, L. evansi (Nuñez-Tovar), L. trinidadensis (Newstead), L. migonei (França), L. absonodonta Feliciangeli, and L. venezuelensis (Floch & Abonnenc). In larvae of all eight species both thoracic and abdominal spiracles are located at the top of a globular bulge. Their structure consists of a spiracular plate with a sclerotized central portion and a rose-like peripheral portion. The latter has circularly arranged papillae, separated from each other by elongated septa. Each papilla is longitudinally crossed by a fine cleft dividing it into two identical parts. The taxonomic and adaptative value of spiracular morphology is discussed