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The ticks (Acari, Metastigmata) are without doubt the most important carriers and reservoir hosts of disease organisms affecting wild and domestic animals and, next to mosquitoes, the most important vectors of human pathogens. The bites of certain species may also cause an acute and sometimes fatal intoxication in humans known as tick paralysis, and heavy infestations on domestic animals may lead to unthriftiness and even death through exsanguination. Serious losses may also be caused by secondary infections of wounds inflicted by the parasites. Thus the bioeconomic problems created by the group are enormous, and clearly of fundamental importance to their understanding is an adequate taxonomic foundation. This to a great extent must be dependent on studies of museum material and particularly on studies of collections of outstanding importance in relation to the taxonomic history of the group.
Arguably, from this historical viewpoint, the single most important collection of ticks is that amassed by Professor G. H. F. Nuttall. Although Nuttall first turned his attention to the role of arthropods in the spread of disease as early as 1897, the real origin of the tick collection began with his investigations of canine piroplasmosis at the University of Cambridge in 1904. When these studies revealed a lack of coordinated knowledge of the biology and systematics of tick vectors, Nuttall planned and began to collect material for a comprehensive work, "Ticks: A Monograph of the Ixodoidea." For this project he enlisted the aid of C. Warburton, L. E. Robinson, and W. F. Cooper.
Originally the work was intended to be published as a single volume, but the task presented great difficulties. In 1908, the decision was made to issue separately Part I of Volume I dealing with the Argasidae. Part II ("Ixodidae,"
period of about 33 years.
Section I, "Classification," Section II, "The Genus Ixodes") and Part III ("The Genus Haemaphysalis"), both by G. H. F. NuttalT and C. Warburton, were published in 19ll and 1915, but the work was seriously interrupted by World War I. Part IV ("The Genus Amblyomma," by L. E. Robinson), which formed the first part of Volume II, was not published until 1926. It was Nuttall's fervent wish that the "Monograph" be completed. Following his retirement as Quick Professor of Biology at Cambridge University in 1931, he was able to devote more attention to the project. Sadly his sudden death in December 1937 brought the undertaking to a standstill, and although another fasciculus (Part V, "On the Genera Dermacentor, Anocentor, Cosmioma, Boophilus, and Margaropus," by Professor D. R. Arthur) was published in 1960, the Monograph remains unfinished.
Nuttall's systematic studies at Cambridge, undertaken mainly at the Quick Laboratory and at the Molteno Institute for Research in Parasitology, spanned a During this time he received enormous amounts of material for critical examination from physicians, veterinarians, parasitologists, and taxonomists working in all parts of the world, so that at the time of its presentation to the British Museum (Natural History) by the Molteno Institute in 1939 his Collection was unrivaled in its importance. As presented, the collection comprised three sections: A reference collection, rich in types, representing nearly all the valid species then recognized; a "stock" collection with many species represented by long series of specimens; and an assemblage of laboratory reared material. All items were carefully labeled and numbered and were documented in detail in a threevolume handwritten register.
Over the years the Nuttall collection has
been curated with painstaking care by successive heads of the Arachnida Section, and in accordance with the terms of the gift it has been maintained as a discrete entity. However, although the need has long been recognized, the Museum has been unable to prepare a catalogue for publication. Thus, it was particularly pleasing to be able to welcome J. E. Keirans of the Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Hamilton, Mont., an authority of international standing on the Metastigmata, as a visiting scientist to the Arachnida Section, and to provide him with the facilities for a 12-month study of the Nuttall, Collection with a view to producing a critical catalogue. He has completed the task with notable suc
cess. Tick workers everywhere will be greatly indebted to him, and, having been directly responsible for the curation of the Nuttall collection for several years, I feel privileged to have been invited to contribute the foreword to this important work.
J. G. Sheals Keeper of Zoology
British Museum (Natural History)
The Nuttall collection of ticks, which had never been revised and updated in toto, was discussed in the autumn of 1976 with the acarology staff of the British Museum (Natural History). This collection had been donated to the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) in 1939 by the Molteno Institute for Research in Parasitology, Cambridge University. The staff agreed that to have this important historical collection, rich in type specimens, entirely reidentified and updated would benefit the Museum. I agreed that, as a systematist on Ixodoidea from the Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), U.S. Public Health Service, it would be advantageous for RML because we were entering all data relating to the two largest tick collections in the world, the RML collection and that of Harry Hoogstraal, Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3), Cairo, Egypt, into the computer at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History. With the addition of Professor Nuttall's Collection, data on the three most important tick collections in the world would become available to researchers. In addition, the Nuttall collection contains type specimens for over 150 tick Species and numerous Species of medical and veterinary importance
Collected from all over the world. Accurate determination of these species would be beneficial to all tick workers.
I began a year's visit to the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) in August 1977 for the purpose of reidentifying the Nuttall tick collection. This research was supported by the Office of International Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.
This publication brings up to date, in a slightly revised form, Nuttall's "Catalogue of Ticks," a three-volume handwritten journal, never before published but certainly a work that leading tick specialists have found one of the most useful single references on the Ixodoidea. The Nuttall catalogue, as now updated and revised, is a historical record of an exceedingly important group of ectoparasites. Because of Professor Nuttall's diligent listing of all relevant collection data relating to his ticks, combined with those data from the RML and NAMRU-3 tick collections, we will undoubtedly be able to better understand tick-host relationships, geographical distribution patterns, and seasonal dynamics within the Ixodoidea.
The following persons are gratefully acknowledged: At the British Museum (Natural History), J. Gordon Sheals, Keeper of Zoology, kindly invited me to conduct this research on Professor Nuttall's tick collection; Keith H. Hyatt, Arachnida and Myriapoda Section, freely provided access to the Nuttall collection plus space, tools, and time to study this material; Anne S. Baker, Arachnida and Myriapoda Section, proVided rare and obscure references relating to Professor Nuttall that are available only in the library of the British Museum (Nat. Hist.). A special thanks, also, to Bernice E. Brewster, formerly of the Arachnida and Myriapoda Section, who provided host and locality information for which I am most grateful.
Donald Macfarlane, Commonwealth Institute of Entomology, through his knowledge of the British records office, was instrumental in enabling me to trace the daughter and son of Professor Nuttall. Macfarlane also provided invaluable assistance in solving certain British conventions in housing, schooling, banking, and so forth, for which my
family and I are most grateful. Dennis W. Babbage, emeritus fellow and former president, and Ralph E. Bennett, president, Magdalene College, Cambridge University, were gracious in assisting me in gathering background material on Professor Nuttall's later days at Cambridge.
To the following authorities on the
Issued January 1985