In the absence of a satisfactory definition of Rickettsia the observations herein recorded were arbitrarily limited to bacterium-like organisms which are intracellular and Gram-negative.
Rickettsia of this type were found in the following species: Amblyomma americana, Amblyomma hebræum, Boophilus decoloratus, Atomus sp., Casinaria infesta, Chrysopa oculata, Ctenocephalus canis, Dermacentor variabilis, Lepisma saccharina, Lucoppia curviseta, Margaropus annulatus, Margaropus annulatus australis, Ornithodoros turicata, Pulex irritans, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, Rhipicephalus evertsi, and Salticus scenicus. Since intracellular, Gram-negative Rickettsia have been recorded in the literature as existing in Cimex lectularius, Dermacentor venustus, Melophagus ovinus, and Pediculus humanus, the occasional occurrence of such bodies must be conceded in the following groups not closely related phylogenetically: Attidæ, Trombidiidæ, Argasidæ, lxodidæ, Cinura, Acanthiidæ, Pediculidæ, Hippoboscidæ, Chrysopidæ, Pulicidæ, and Ichneumonidæ.
The species which harbor Rickettsia differ widely in diet and habitat. One such species is insectivorous throughout life, two are insectivorous in larval stages, becoming vegetarian in the adult condition, one is chiefly vegetarian but partakes of some animal products, and two are usually entirely vegetarian; while the remainder subsist wholly upon a diet of mammalian blood. Rickettsia are associated, in only a few cases, with diseases in mammals.
The evidence at hand does not lead beyond the conclusion that the Rickettsia mentioned above are true Gram-negative microorganisms, easily distinguishable from mitochondria and all other cytoplasmic and nuclear granulations, rather completely adapted to an intracellular existence, exhibiting in some cases a remarkable degree of host specificity, and often inherited through the eggs.