Salivary glands from immature and adult Amblyomma variegatum were compared for differences in potential components responsible for the systemic aggravation by adult ticks of the skin disease dermatophilosis. Whole salivary glands from adult, nymphal and larval A. variegatum ticks were compared for structural differences by light microscopy and for protein content by gel electrophoresis. Type-2 salivary gland acini from adult ticks at the second stage of feeding contained significantly greater (P<0.01) proportions of c1 secretory granules than those from either of the immature instars. There was also significantly more area occupied with e secretory granules in the type-3 salivary gland acini from adult ticks compared with larval ticks. Electrophoresis of whole salivary glands showed seven bands present only in the adult material; of these, three were dense bands at 37, 35 and 31 kDA. Electrophoresis of saliva from adult and nymphal. A. variegatum obtained by artificial stimulation showed that nine bands were unique to the saliva produced by adults; of these nine bands one was a dense band at 67 kDa. It was concluded that adult salivary material was different from that of immature ticks and that further studies on the relationship between the feeding of adult A. variegatum and dermatophilosis should investigate these components unique to the adults.