As many of you know, I am working on a project involving desert rodents, and have come across a Acari (ticks and mites) species that I would love to identify. Please help!
The animals is specific to a single rodent species, Chaetodipus spinatus, which is found in the Southern California deserts. I find 5-10 of these guys on the tail of every individual rodent of this species– they are always there, and never on any other rodent species. I have worked with these rodents for several years, now, so I am pretty sure of this mutually exclusive relationship. Neat!
In addition to the photos, I have a large amt. of sequence data, which consists of hundred million 150bp PE Illumina reads– mRNA. In this there is a 9kb chunk of mtDNA, which seems to have only ~80% sequence similarity to anything. There is some sequence data from Ixodes, including Ixodes pacificus (I thought it was gonna be this species), though nothing seems to match there..
There is a bunch of 16S sequence that seems to be Rickettsial, and there is some 18S and 28S that looks like is came from the Mesostigmata.. These things have 99% sequence similarity.. look good.
Anyway, this has been an interesting (difficult) dataset to work with, with ‘contamination’ from the vertebrate host, and now all this bacterial stuff… Plus the fact that I don’t really know what the parasite is.
Anyway, If you know what this animal is, please let me know!