|Description:||Under a low magnification of 23X, this scanning electron micrographic (SEM) image depicted a dorsal view of an unidentified engorged female tick, which had been extracted from the skin of a pet cat. Note the presence of some of the cat’s fur, along with some of its skin tissue in which the tick’s gnathosoma was still embedded, while it had been obtaining a blood meal from its feline host. Also worthy of note, is the subtle demarcation of the “scutum”, or chitinous “shield” on the tick’s back, signifying that this was, indeed, a female. Note in PHIL 9959 and 9960, that the entire dorsum of that tick’s abdomen is covered by its scutum, categorizing it as a male. In female Ixodid-species ticks, the scutum only partially covers the dorsal abdomen. Ticks belong to the Phylum Arthropoda, due to the fact that they maneuver upon jointed ( “Arthro”) legs (“poda”), as well as the Class Arachnida, for they’ve eight of these legs, unlike insects, which use six legs to move about.|
Ticks act as the vectors for a number what are termed “Arboviruses”, i.e., Arthropod-borne, including Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) (Rickettsia rickettsii), Tularemia (Francisella tularensis), and human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) (Ehrlichia chaffeensis). Other diseases that you can get from a tick in the United States include anaplasmosis, Colorado tick fever, and Powassan encephalitis.
Some species, and some life stages of ticks are so small they can be difficult to see, but all hungrily look for animals and people to bite. Depending on the species, you can find ticks in various environments, often in, or near wooded areas. You may come into contact with ticks when walking through infested areas, or by brushing up against infested vegetation (such as leaf litter or shrubs). Ticks also feed on mammals and birds, which play a role in maintaining ticks and the pathogens they carry.