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Phylum Arthropoda

The phylum Arthropoda is the largest phylum of the Animal Kingdom. At least three quarters of a million species have been recorded; this is more than three times the number of all other animals species combined. The tremendous adaptive diversity of arthropods has enabled them to survive in virtually every habitat they are perphas the most successful of all the invaders of the terrestrial environment. Arthropods have a wide range of feeding habits; they feed on solid food materials or juices, or on vertebrate blood. Many of them are freefreeliving and others live as pests and parasites on plants and other animals, or as predators. Most arthropods play an important role in the general economy of man, his crops, and his livestocks. The phylum includes familiar forms as spiders, mites, scorpions, shrimps, crabs, insects, centipedes and millipedes.

Characteristics of Phylum Arthropoda:

1. Arthropods are bilaterally symmetry (segmented), metameric and triploblastic animals reflecting their annelidan ancestry, but most species exhibit some degree of reduction in metamerism as a consequence of loss, fusion and differentiation of segments. 2. The body is divided into segments which are not all alike but differ in form and structure. They are also usually grouped into three main regions recognized as the head, thorax and abdomen. 3. They have paired jointed appendages which are specialized in many ways, thus adapted to perform various functions (walking, swimming, jumping).

4. The body is covered by a chitinous exoskeleton divided into plates and cylinders, permitting movement, and is periodically shed, permitting growth. 5. Muscles attached to the inside of the skeleton and the skeltomuscular system functions as a lever system. 6. All internal structures derived from invaginations of the body wall have a chitinous lining. The anterior and posterior parts of the gut, called the foregut and hindgut, possess such a lining. The midgut, derived from endoderm, is more restricted then in most animals. 7. The blood vascular system is open, and the dorsal heart is primitively tubular hemolymph. hemocoelamic body, organs bathed in

8. The nervous system is like that of annelids. The sense organs are highly developed and include simple or compound eyes, sensory setae, auditory organs and statocysts. 9. Complete digestive system with anterior appendages to from mouth parts. 10. 10. Excretion, aquatic through gills (ammonia) or green glands Malphigian tubules (uric acid). 11. 11. Terrestrial forms respire by a system of branching air tubes known as the tracheae, or by lung books (Arachnids). Aquatic forms respire by gills and through the body surface. 12. 12. Sexes are separate, and the young usually hatch from the eggs in an immature stage that undergoes a gradual change, called metamorphosis, to become adult.

Classification of Arthropoda:
The phylum includes many classes, orders, and the other categories. However, we will concern with the following:

Class: Crustacea

Penaeus (shrimp)

Portunus (crab)

Class: Myriapoda
Centipede (Chilopoda)

Scolopendra (centipede)

Millipede (Diplopoda)

Class: Arachnida
Class Arachnida Theridion (spider)

Class: Insecta
Melicodes (grasshopper)

Distinguishable comparisons among classesof Aethropoda.

Character Body regions No. of legs Sense Organs Respirato ry organs Excretion Habitat Example Crustacea
Two, Cephalothorax (Head fused with thorax), Abdomen. Abdomen. Many legs, 4 pairs of walking, 7 pairs swimmerets. swimmerets. Compound eyes, pairs of antennae. antennae. Aquatic forms: Gills. forms: Gills. Land forms: Trachea. forms: Trachea. Green glands. glands. Mostly aquatic, terrestrial. terrestrial. Cry fish, lsopoda. lsopoda. few Crabs, of 2

Two, Head and Trunk. Trunk. One pair of legs per each body segment. segment. Simple eyes, ocelli and 1 pairs of antennae. antennae. Trachea. Trachea. Malphigian tubules Terrestrial. Terrestrial. Scolopendra, Sympgyla. Sympgyla.

Two, Prosoma (Cephalothorax), Opithosoma (Mesosoma, Metasoma). Metasoma). 4 pairs of legs attached to cephalothorax region. region. No leg at opithosoma. opithosoma. Simple eyes, ocelli. Don't ocelli. have antennae. antennae. Aquatic forms: Gills. Land forms: Gills. forms: forms: Trachea, lung books. books. Malpighian tubules. tubules. Mostly terrestrial, Some aquatic. aquatic. Spider, Mites, Ticks. Ticks.

Three, Head, Thorax, Abdomen. Abdomen. 3 pairs of legs attached to thorax. thorax. Compound eyes, 1 pair of antennae. antennae. Aquatic forms: forms: Gills. Gills. Land forms: Trachea. forms: Trachea. Malpighian tubules. tubules. Mostly terrestrial, Some aquatic Grasshopper, Butterflies. Butterflies.

Examples of each will be studied in detail in practical lessons.

Economic Importance of Phylum Arthropoda:

Phylum Arthropoda contain various members that affect man, animals and plants. Some aquatic forms related to class. Crustacea used by man as food like shrimp and lobsters. The land crustacean include members that play a role in decomposing plant and animal remnants. Sow bug (wood lice) is the most familiar example of crustacean lives in land. Also, other members related to order Isopoda burrow under ground feeding on roots of plant seedling causing serious damage. Moreover, they could attack fruits of strawberry, watermelon and sweet melon, scratching the outer surface of the fruits helping the microorganisms to attack the fruit tissues. Likewise members of Myriapoda decompose plant materials to simple compounds available to plant uptake.

Other species of Myriapoda prey smaller animals like earthworms, mollusks and insects. Thus, these animals of Myriapoda maintain the natural balance. Moreover, there are some species related to Centipedes and Millipedes attack crops causing considerable loss in yield. As for class Arachnida, its members have relative importance to man, animals and crops. For instance members of Araneida (Spiders) are mostly predators feeding on animals juices as they feed on sow bugs, scorpions, mites, insects and snails.

Larger spiders can feed on small amphibian, reptiles, birds and mammals. Thus, spiders play a role in natural balance, that they can be used in biological control to eliminate injurious pests. Members of order Scorpionida are also predators attack smaller animals like insects, spiders, centipedes and millipedes. The larger species can feed on mice and rats by killing the victims with poisons and then sucking the animal juices. Scorpions may attack man by stinging him, and then, the secreted poison may cause death. Mostly members of Pseudoscorpionida are soil inhabitants feed on decomposed material, but some of which are predators on smaller animals.

Order Acarina contain mites ticks which include several species bring important to agricultural production. Ticks are parasites on the domestic animals. Also, mites are parasite on domestic animals, man as well as the economic crops. Class Insecta includes members having economic importance for man and his livestocks as well as for crops production. Some insect species have medical importance to man and his domestic animals. Blood suckers may act as vectors to many pathogens. Many other insect species act as dangerous pests on economic crops. Due to the economic importance of mites and ticks, the following examples will be discussed in details.

Ex. 1-Common Red Spider Mites:

Several economic crops have been attacked by the phytophagus mite, Tetranychus urticae. urticae.

Symptoms of T. urticae:
A wide spread pest has attacked several economic crops, including field crops, vegetables, ornamentals and fruit trees. Symptoms appear as yellowish pale spots on the lower surface of the infected leaves. Gradually, the spots change to dark yellowish then transfer to reddish and finally to brownish spots. In highly infected plants, the spots become larger and joining together to cover most or entire the lower leaf surface. The upper surface of the infected leaf has purple colour which then turns to dark brown. In advanced case, the leaves die and fall down; and fruits become scabby.

Life cycle:
The female deposits eggs singly around leaf veins specially on the lower surface, as well as on buds. When the egg hatches, a larva with three pairs of legs emerges and starts to feed on leaf tissues juice. Then, the larva becomes quite before molting to a protonymph which has four pairs of legs, and starts to feed for a while after which it becomes quite and molts to deutonymph. It then feeds, becomes quite and molts to mature female or male. Mating occurs and females deposit eggs to repeat the life cycle. The life cycle lasts 8 days in summer and 40 day in winter. A number of 27 generations per a year is found under the Egyptian circumstances. One female can lay a number of 100 eggs during its life span.

Developmental stages of the life cycle of Tetranychus urticae

Egg hatch Larva (3, pairs of legs) M Protonymph (Mature) (Mating) (4, pairs of legs) M Deutouymph deposit egg

(8 days in summer) (40 day in winter) Male Female

Treatment and Prevention:

1. Elimination of weeds which act as hosts for mites during pre-cropping periods. pre2. Using healthy plant materials (seedings-cuttings- corms bulbsetc). (seedings-cuttingsbulbs 3. Treatments with acaricides to reduce the mites populations.

Ex.2 Ex.2 The Soft and Hard Ticks of Domestic Animals:

The ticks are classed in two families, Argasidae or "Soft ticks", and Ixodidae "Hard ticks" which differ considerably both in their structure and life cycle. Structurally the Argasidae are distinguished by having the body covered by a leathery cuticle marked by numerous tubercles or granulations, and sometimes small circular discs, also but no plates or shields. The Ixodidae, on the other hand have a dorsal shield or scutum that almost completely covers the back in males, but only the anterior portion of it in females. Another character distinguishing these two families is the ventral position of the mouth parts in the Argasidae and their anterior position in the Ixodidae, where they fit into a groove or camerostome at the anterior end of the body. The females of both families when unfed are flat, but after their gluttonous meals they become grotesquely engorged

and resemble beans or nuts. Also, several nymphal stages exist in of ticks, while in hard ticks, there is only one nymphal stage. Soft ticks are quick feeders as they attached to the host for several days and feed only once . After feeding the adult female lays a large mass of eggs and dies. Adult soft ticks, on the other hand, lay eggs after each blood meal.

A- The Fowl Tick, Argas Persicus: Persicus:

Widely distributed; though it infests several hosts, e.g. birds, specially fowls and small mammals. It related to Fam. Argasidae.

Symptoms of Argas Persicus:

The parasitized animals become weak due to sucking of large amounts of bloods which leads to appearance of anemic disorders. The presence of ticks in large number causes irritation and annoyance. More serous than the painful wound made by ticks is a peculiar paralyzing effect of tick bits, known as tick paralysis. Also, the tick may act as a transmitter of the bacterial disease, Spirochetosis caused by Borrelia onserina, whichaffects egg and meat production in fowls and other birds.

Life Cycle of A. persicus:

The adult females lay their eggs in batches at intervals of weeks or months. The eggs require from 2 to 3 weeks to develop. Eggs deposited in the fall do not hatch unit the following spring. Newly hatched ticks are called larvae, and are recognizable by having only six legs. The larvae feed on host blood for a long period before molting to nymphs which remain attached to the host for 1-2 hours getting their blood meal. Then, the nymphs move away to rest and molt for the second time to second stage- nymphs. They feed on host blood and after a while molt to adults. Egg laying begins a week or more after mating and feeding.

Treatment and Prevention:


Cleanliness of poultry houses. Spraying of floors and walls with chemicals may eliminate ticks for a long time. Dusting with chlorinated hydrocarbons or other chemicals is effective. Spraying poultry houses, roosts, and litter with special chemical.


B- The Hard Tick, Hyalomma aegyptiaca:

This tick infests cattle, sheep, camel, horse, cat, and fox. It usually exist in places plenty in grass. It related to Fam. Ixodidae. .

Symptoms of Hyalomma aegyptiaca:

The wounds made by the tick bites may cause inflammation and damage to the host tissues. The tick salivary secretion, which passes into the wound during he bite, may cause tick paralysis to the host. It may transmit pathogenic viruses to the infested animals.

Life Cycle of H. aegyptiaca: aegyptiaca:

The adult females take a single enormous meal, after which they drop off the host to soil and lay their eggs at once. After a period, the newly hatched ticks known as larvae which have six legs each, remain waiting until a suitable host passes within reach. Often they crawl up on a blade of grass or a twig to reach to the host. They feed for only a few days, becoming distended with blood and then distended with

blood and then dropping to the ground again. After a while they shed their skin and emerge as eight-legged but sexaully immature ticks known as nymphs. The nymphs are distinguishable from females by absence of the genital aperture. They climb upon bushes or weeds waiting for a host, unless they stay starved in the absence of the host. They get their meals from the host, and drop to the ground to digest the meal, transform, and molt to sexual mature adults then, they climb up to host for mating, copulating, and the males usually die shortly after copulation. The females get down. Laying a large mass of eggs and die.

Treatment and Prevention:


Cleanliness of the domestic animal's pens. Spraying houses, barns and/or dipping infested animals in pens with special acaricides. Elimination of weeds and grasses, or using chemical control by dusting or spraying the pastures or grasses.

Mite (left) and Tick (right)

pedipalps & chelicerae



Singly on the leaf lower surface or buds

T. Urticae

Mating Eggs

Hatching Larvae (3 pairs of legs)


L.C. 8 days in summer, 40 days in winter. 27 generations.

Feed Quite Molt

Feed, Quite Deutonymph Molt

Feed, Quite Molt Protonymph ( 4 pairs of legs)

Soft Tick
In batches Mating 2-3 weeks (developing)

Fall Spring

(6 legs)

Adult +


A. persicus

Feed, 2nd stage nymph Molt

Feed (1-2 hrs.), (1

Rest, Molt

Hard Tick
+ Big meal Climb to the host for Mating Adult Feed, + Molt Eggs (in soil) Large mass Larvae (6 legs)

H. aegyptiaca

Soil or Plants molt


Feed Nymph (6 legs)

Distinguishable comparisons between the soft and hard ticks.

Taxonomic group

Soft ticks
Related to Fam. Argasidae Body covered by a leathery cuticle marked by tubercles or granulations, no plates or shields. Mouth parts located in a ventral position Have several nymphal stages Quick feeders; nymphs and adults feed frequently. Adult lays eggs after each blood meal.

Hard ticks
Related to Fam. Ixodidae Body has a dorsal shield or scutum which completely covers the back in males, but only the anterior portion of females. Mouth parts located in an anterior position.

Morphological variations

Biological variations


Have one numphal stage.  Slow feeders; long-feeding ticks; adults feed only once.

Adult lays a large mass of eggs and then dies.