Many studies have been conducted with plants whose extracts have the potential to be used for pest control. One of these plants is Azadirachta indica (neem), whose main active ingredient is azadirachtin, a compound shown to have acaricide and insecticide activity. Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick) is currently considered to be an "urban pest," because of its high levels of infestation and its ability to attack humans. In the present study partially and fully engorged R. sanguineus females were exposed to aqueous extracts of neem at concentrations of 10% and 20%, and to a control treatment. The results showed that differently from what was observed in the control, the pedicel cells of females exposed to neem at both concentrations lost their original shape. In the latter cases, the cytoplasm of the cells became fully vacuolated, especially near the germinal vesicle (oocyte nuclei) and in the oocyte pole, which is in contact with the cells of the pedicel. Oocytes in early stages of development (I and II) of ticks treated with both concentrations had irregular germinal vesicle, including the presence of two nucleoli as well as fragments of these. Oocytes in stages IV and V of exposed individuals showed full granular cytoplasm with bigger yolk granules when compared to the early stages. Chorion of mature oocytes was also altered, showing folds and deformations along their entire extension. The observed changes in cells of the reproductive system of R. sanguineus, especially in the oocytes, indicated the potential of neem as a new alternative method to control these ectoparasites.
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