Monday, November 16, 2015

Spiders, Scorpions, and What Not, Part 4: Ticks

Ticks are small arachnids that belong to the order of Parasitiformes. They, along with mites, constitute the subclass of Acarina. Adult ticks have eight legs, like all arachnids, and their body consists of two separate segments. There main body segment, the abdomen, is often at least twice as large as the cephalothorax. There are a total of over 900 different species of ticks spread across three different families. These families are Nuttalliellidae, comprised of a single species, Ixodidae, the hard ticks and comprised of over 700 species, and Argasidae, the soft tick and comprised of about 200 species of ticks.

Nuttalliella namaqua

Ticks are often vectors for many different types of diseases. Some major tick-borne diseases include Lyme disease, Q fever, Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, African tick bite fever, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, tularemia, tick-borne relapsing fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and tick-borne meningoencephalitis. In fact, some ticks can carry more than one disease at a time, and as a result, can infect a host with more than one pathogen simultaneously. Despite this terrible characteristic ticks have, they play an important ecological role by making weak animals sick and thus preventing overgrazing of plant resources. If you are to have tick on you, the best method of removing it is by freezing it off with a medical wart remover or something of the like.

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