Water relations in eggs of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, with experimental work on the capacity for water vapor absorption

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Abstract

This study shows that water stress is not countered in eggs of the lone star tick, Amblyommaamericanum (L.), using water vapor, and suggests involvement of liquid water as a developmental cue. Eggs fail to maintain an equilibrium water content in subsaturated air, hence, gain ≠ loss, with net water losses occurring at relative humidities near saturation and these eggs exhibit a three-fold drop in viability, but not incubation period, as compared to eggs held in saturated air. Amblyomma americanum eggs are stenohydric and feature low 58% water content, slow water losses <1%/h, and an impermeable chorion wherein the Arrhenius activation energy, Ea = −66 J/K, is suppressed. Thus, enhancement of water retention, not water vapor absorption, permits eggs to resist desiccation.

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