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18340814 Parasites of Medical Importance

18340814 Parasites of Medical Importance

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Published by: abacean on Oct 10, 2012
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Arthropods comprise approximately 78% of all known species of animals. They
possess jointed appendages and a segmented body that is covered with a chitinized
exoskeleton. There are two major groups of arthropods, chelicerates and mandibulates.
The chelicerate arthropods include arachnids (spiders, scorpions, mites, and ticks),
xiphosurids (king crabs), and pycnogonids (sea spiders). These organisms differ
markedly from one another, but generally they possess chelicerae as the first pair of
appendages, and they lack antennae. Mandibulate arthropods, which include insects,
crustaceans, millipedes, and centipedes, typically possess antennae and mandibles,
but lack chelicerae. Some of the characteristics distinguishing mandibulates and
chelicerates are given in Table 1.
Arthropods are of medical and veterinary importance not only because they serve
as intermediate hosts and vectors of disease, but also because they themselves are
causal agents of disease. Some of the more important arthropod vectors and the
diseases they transmit are given in Table 2. The remaining portions of this chapter
consider arthropods as pathogenic agents.

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