Laboratory for the Study of Parasitic Arthropods

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The Laboratory for the Study of Parasitic Arthropods originates from the Laboratory of Parasitology, which was created in 1930 on the initiative of the full member of the USSR Academy of Sciences Evgeny Nikanorovich Pavlovsky. The main tasks of the laboratory are the development of fundamental issues of morphology, ecology, systematics and fauna of parasitic and bloodsucking ticks and insects.

In 2010-2020, staff members of the Laboratory for the Study of Parasitic Arthropods revealed peculiarities of the genesis of permanent parasitism and coevolutionary host-parasite relations were established on the basis of different groups of parasitic acarines. Problems of phylogeography of parasites, reversion of the permanent parasitism, significance of horizontal host changes in the evolution of mites, parasites of mammals and birds, were analyzed. The most important aspects of evolutionary plasticity of phytoparasitic arthropods were revealed with the example of gall mites (Eriopyoidea), and new approaches to the study of phytoparasitic systems on the basis of modern molecular methods were elaborated. New data on morphological and taxonomic diversity, phylogeny, and host-parasite relations in main groups of acariform and parasitiform mites and ticks, insects of the flea order, and also bloodsucking blackflies and mosquitoes were obtained. More than 1000 new species and 30 new genera of parasitic arthropods from different continents were described. New type of arthropod silk produced by dermal glands of aquatic mites was discovered and fine structure of the stylostome in mites of the group Parasitengona (Acariformes) was studied in detail. A new phenomenon, penetration of some ixodid tick species, vectors of dangerous diseases, into urban biotopes was discovered and explained, and mechanism, providing accumulation of ticks near pedestrian pathways in city parks, was explained. Mechanisms of formation of long-term life cycles in ticks Ixodes ricinus and I. persulcatus (Acari, Ixodinae) in northwestern Russia were established. An original complex method of the study of thoracic pleurites in bloodsucking mosquitoes (Diptera, Culicidae) was elaborated. In 2010-2020, the results of studies conducted by laboratory staff members were reflected in more than 400 publications.


16 employees (13 researchers, 1 collection keeper, 1 research intern, 1 research assistant).

Sergei G. Medvedev (Head of Laboratory, Principal Researcher, Professor, Doctor of Biological Sciences)

Sergei V. Aibulatov (Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Dmitry A. Apanaskevich (Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Natalya K. Brodskaya (Senior Collection Keeper)

Ludmila A. Grigoryeva (Leading Researcher, Doctor of Biological Sciences)

Sergei A. Leonovich (Leading Researcher, Doctor of Biological Sciences)

Sergei V. Mironov (Principal Researcher, Doctor of Biological Sciences)

Alexey V. Razygraev (Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Elizaveta P. Samoilova (Research Intern)

Maria K. Stanyukovich (Leading Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Alexandr A. Stekolnikov (Leading Researcher, Doctor of Biological Sciences)

Svetlana A. Filimonova (Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Alexei V. Khalin (Senior Researcher, Candidate of Biological Sciences)

Philipp E. Chetverikov (Senior Researcher, Doctor of Biological Sciences)

Andrey B. Shatrov (Principal Researcher, Doctor of Biological Sciences)

Ekaterina T. Shevchenko (Research Assistant)

Topics of State Assignments

“Development of the modern basis for the taxonomy and phylogenetics of parasitic and bloodsucking arthropods”.
PI: Head of Laboratory, Doctor of Biological Sciences S.G. Medvedev.
No. АААА-А19-119020790133-6.

“Patterns of the formation of species, taxonomic, and morpho-ecological diversity of parasitic and bloodsucking arthropods”.
PI: Head of Laboratory, Doctor of Biological Sciences S.G. Medvedev.
No. АААА-А17-117030310209-7.

Laboratory collections

Laboratory for the study of parasitic arthropods keeps one of the largest world collections of parasitic mites, ticks, and insects, including more than 500 thousand samples (collection units). Uniqueness of this collection is determined by the presence of all active developmental stages of all the species of the Northern Palaearctic; at the same time, many species are rather completely represented within the borders of the entire range. First of all, it concerns species with vast ranges, vectors of especially dangerous pathogens. Laboratory collections of ixodid ticks, gamasid and feather mites, bloodsucking mosquitoes, and also biting midges have global significance. The collection was created by several generations of specialists during the entire last century. The world fauna is represented rather completely. Collection includes more than 16 000 slides (about 300 000 determined specimens) and 7000 vessels with material stored in alcohol. The total number of specimens deposited in the collection constitutes more than 1 000 000. At present, the collection comprises the material on the fauna of Russia, Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Middle Asia, Siberia, and the Russian Far East, and also of China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Vietnam. Material of the collection were used for the preparing of the database on the world flea fauna, that was the first of Russian databases was included into the international edition Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, uniting monographic databases on different groups of animals and plants within the volume of their world faunas and floras.

Main publications of the Laboratory staff

Grigoryeva L.A., Miteva O.A., Myasnikov V.A., Gogolevsky A.S., Shitova L.F. 2019. The effect of infection of hard ticks Ixodes ricinus (L.) and Ixodes persulcatus Sch. (Acari: Ixodinae) with the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis (Borrelia burgdorferi s.l.) on their host search activity (using attractants). Systematic and Applied Acarology 24(12): 2358–2368.

Shatrov A.B., Soldatenko E.V., Stolbov V.A., Smirnov P.A., Petukhova O.A. 2019. Ultrastructure and functional morphology of dermal glands in the freshwater mite Limnochares aquatica (L., 1758) (Acariformes, Limnocharidae). Arthropod Structure and Development 49: 85–102.

Grigoryeva L.A., Stanyukovich M.K. 2018. Differential diagnosis of Ixodes ricinus and Ixodes persulcatus: nymphs and larvae. Experimental and Applied Acarology 75(1): 97–106.

Medvedev S.G. 2018. Morphological diversity of the skeletal structures of fleas (Siphonaptera). Part 6. Entomological Review 98(1): 10–20.

Stekolnikov A.A. 2018. Taxonomy and distribution of African chiggers (Acariformes, Trombiculidae). European Journal of Taxonomy 395: 1–233.

Vlasov S., Adler P.H., Topolenko V., Aibulatov S., Gorlov I., Harutyunova M., Harutyunova K. 2018. Karyotypic characteristics of the ornithophilic Simulium aureum species group (Diptera: Simuliidae) along the northern Black Sea coast and the origin of сhromosomal reduction. Journal of Medical Entomology 55(5): 1160–1169.

Medvedev S.G. 2017. Adaptations of fleas (Siphonaptera) to parasitism. Entomological Review 97(8): 273–284.

Mironov S.V., Literak I., Sychra O., Capek M. 2017. Feather mites of the subfamily Proctophyllodinae (Acari: Proctophyllodidae) from passerines (Aves: Passeriformes) in Costa Rica. Zootaxa 4297(1): 1–105.

Shatrov A.B., Felska M. 2017. Comparative stylostome ultrastructure of Hirsutiella zachvatkini (Trombiculidae) and Trombidium holosericeum (Trombidiidae) larvae. Experimental and Applied Acarology 72(4): 339–365.

Aibulatov S.V. 2016, Contribution to the fauna of blackflies of the tribe Simuliini (Diptera: Simuliidae) of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia). Entomological Review 96(5): 600–610.

Bochkov A.V. 2016. [Chapter IV.] Host-parasite relations of acariform mites (Acariformes) — permanent parasites of mammals with birds. In: Galaktionov K.V. (Ed.) Coevolution of Parasites and Hosts. St. Petersburg: Zoological Institute RAS: 160–263. (Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS 320. Supplement 4). [Russian]

Grigoryeva L.A., Stanyukovich M.K. 2016. Life cycle of the taiga tick Ixodes persulcatus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the North-West of Russia. Experimental and Applied Acarology 69(3): 347–357.

Khalin A.V., Aibulatov S.V. 2016. Diagnostic characters of the thoracic pleurites of mosquitoes (Diptera, Culicidae): Topology of setae in species of the genera Anopheles Meigen, 1818, Coquillettidia Dyar, 1905, Culex Linnaeus, 1758, Culiseta Felt, 1904, Lutzia Theobald, 1903, and Uranotaenia Lynch Arribalzaga, 1891. Entomological Review 96(8): 1041–1068.

Mironov S.V. 2016. [Chapter V.] Host-parasite relations of mites of the parvorder Psoroptidia (Acariformes: Astigmata) with birds. In: Galaktionov K.V. (Ed.), Coevolution of Parasites and Hosts. St. Petersburg: Zoological Institute RAS: 264–348. (Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS 320. Supplement 4). [Russian]

Shatrov A.B., Soldatenko E.V., Gavrilova O.V. 2016. Morphology of tube-like threads related to Limnochares aquatic (L., 1758) (Acariformes: Hydrachnidia: Limnocharidae) in the laboratory. Journal of Natural History 50(35-36): 2199–2214.

Chetverikov P.E., Cvrković T., Makunin A., Sukhareva S., Vidović B., Petanović R. 2015. Basal divergence of Eriophyoidea (Acariformes, Eupodina) inferred from combined partial COI and 28S gene sequences and CLSM genital anatomy. Experimental and Applied Acarology 67(2): 219–245.

Aibulatov S.V. 2015. A contribution to the fauna of blackflies of the subfamily Prosimuliinae (Diptera: Simuliidae) of the Sakha Republiс (Yakutia). Entomological Review 95(1): 61–72.

Aibulatov S.V. 2014. Contribution to the black fly fauna of the tribes Nevermanniini and Wilhelmiini (Diptera: Simuliidae) of the Sakha Republik (Yakutia). Parazitologia 48(6): 409–422. [Russian]

Stekolnikov A.A. 2013. Leptotrombidium (Acari: Trombiculidae) of the World. Zootaxa 3728: 1–173.

Khalin A.V., Aibulatov S.V. 2012. New investigation technique for thoracic sclerites of mosquitoes (Diptera, Culicidae) for the correct identification of genera and species. Entomological Review 92(9): 988–993.

Grigoryeva L.A. 2011. Morphophysiological changes in the organism of feeding ticks, Ixodinae. Saarbrucken, Germany: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing. 239 p. [Russian]

Balashov Yu. S. 2009. Acari and Insect Parasitism on terrestrial vertebrates. St. Petersburg: Nauka. 358 p. [Russian]

Leonovich S.A. 2005. Sensory systems of parasitic ticks and mites. St. Petersburg: Nauka. 238 p. [Russian]

Medvedev S.G. 2005. Practice of systems analysis of the evolution of the order of fleas (Siphonaptera). St. Petersburg: Zoological Institute RAS. 170 p. (Readings in memory of N.A. Kholodkovky 57(2)). [Russian]

Laboratory staff participate in the following grants

RFBR No. 20-04-00500_а. “Systematics, phylogeny and coevolutionary relationships of feather mites with passerines (Passeriformes) of the New World” (PI S.V. Mironov).

RFBR No. 19-04-00532_a. “Taxonomy and ecology of Southeast Asian trombiculids” (PI A.A.Stekolnikov).

RFBR No. 19-04-00127_а. “Cladogenesis and formation of hostal specificity in Eriophyoidea in the course of colonization of plants by eriophyoid mites: morpho-ecological hypotheses and testing them by modern methods” (PI P.E Chetverikov).

RFBR No. 19-04-00759_a. “Elaboration of modern approaches to species identification of fleas, active vectors of natural focal infectious diseases” (PI S.G. Medvedev).

RFBR No. 17-54-560013_Iran_a. “Chigger mites (Acariformes: Trombiculidae) of Northern Iran: taxonomy and veterinary importance” (PI A.A.Stekolnikov).

RFBR No. 18-04-00075_a. “The leading tendencies of morpho-ecological specialization in mites and ticks (Acariformes, Parasitiformes) in the light of elaboration of their host-parasite relationships” (PI A.B. Shatrov).

RFBR No. 16-04-00486_а. “Regularities of the evolution of permanent parasitism of acariform mites (Acariformes) associated with prevailing orders of warm-blooded vertebrates — rodents and passerines” (PI S.V. Mironov).

RFBR No. 16-04-00145_а. “Zoogeographic divisions of Africa according to the faunistic and taxonomic data on chigger mites” (PI A.A.Stekolnikov).

RFBR No. 16-04-01292_a. “Manipulation of normal development programs in host plant — parasite systems: pathological changes in leaf tissues of Fragaria viridis attacked by gall mite Fragariocoptes setiger” (PI P.E Chetverikov).

RFBR No. 15-04-01203_а. “Morpho-functional and ecologo-physiological peculiarities of life cycle, host-parasite relationships and evolutionary trends of parasitic mites and ticks (on the example of Parasitiformes: Ixodina, Acariformes: Parasitengona)” (PI A.B. Shatrov).