Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Arthropod; Arthropod reaction

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Alternatingly warm inhabitants of land and water, mainly living in warm and humid regions. Most diverse group of animals with bilateral, symmetrical, segmented bodies, limbs with joints, outer skeleton made of chitin, a real body shell and without closed blood vessel system. Some arthropods are parasites or disease carriers for humans (contact with the body surface).

General definition
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Subdivision into the following sub-strains:

  • Diantennata (crustaceans; Branchiata, Crustacea): Tripartite division of the body with thorax and abdomen. Water breathing with gills. Split feet and two pairs of antennae. Disease vectors (intermediate host) are for example crabs and bouncers.
  • Chelicerata (Arachnoideae): Division of the body into cephalothorax and abdomen. Breathing apparatus with trachea and tracheal lungs. Four pairs of legs. Most poisonous bites or stings can be caused by some representatives of the orders:
    • Aranea (arachnids)
    • Scorpionidea (scorpions).
    • Ticks and
    • Mites (Acarina) are important disease carriers or parasites.
  • Antennata (Tracheata): Breathing through tracheas (tracheal animals). The most important parasite and disease vectors of the antennata are:
  • Insects (hexapods, 3 parts of the body, 3 pairs of legs on the thorax) in the orders:

Clinical picture
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The clinical picture of the skin or general reactions caused by infections, bites or stings varies greatly (see below the respective clinical pictures) and depends on the individual's readiness to react, any previously acquired sensitization, the time of the event and secondary effects (e.g. scratching effects, secondary infection).

  • Insect bites by diptera (mosquitoes, flies) are mainly found on the freely exposed parts of the body as itchy inflammatory papules with accentuated bites.
  • Flea bites are found on covered skin areas as grouped, acute (overnight), itchy wheals or papules with a central bite site.
  • Bug bites are found on uncovered areas of skin as linear, itchy wheals or papules.
  • Tick bites: often go unnoticed. Non-itching ring-shaped growing erythema(erythema chronicum migrans) becomes conspicuous later.
  • The scabies (scabies mites) impresses as a violently itchy generalized, mostly eczema-like clinical picture. Axillae, interdigital spaces, genitalia are predisposed. Face and mucous membranes remain free.
  • Trombidia (autumn mites) cause in late summer or autumn, with appropriate exposure, on covered skin areas, passagere (exist about 2 weeks) itchy skin strokes
  • Cheyletielles (fur mites) are permanent ectoparasites of mammals in dogs, cats, rabbits and hares; the coat may appear mealy and whitish. In exposed humans, Cheyletiellae lead to passagere (human is a false host) small papular itchy skin rashes.


Please ask your physician for a reliable diagnosis. This website is only meant as a reference.


Last updated on: 29.10.2020