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Aim To describe the niche of a tick by; Studying it anatomically Describing it's lifestyle Describing it's life cycle

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Introduction

Tick Investigation

Aim

To describe the niche of a tick by;

  • Studying it anatomically
  • Describing it’s lifestyle
  • Describing it’s life cycle
  • Explaining how it has adapted
  • And what diseases it carries and spreads

……………………………………………………………………………

An introduction to ticks

image00.jpg

The tick is not an insect but is part of the arachnid family.

Ticks are divided into two main families, soft ticks (Argasidae) and hard ticks (Ixodidae). The scientific name of the tick that I am studying is Ixodes Canisuga, it has a sclerotizeddorsal plate (scutum), an oval or pair shaped outline, and their mouthparts are visible from the dorsal view.

Habitat

The ticks habitat must satisfy two essential requirements for tick survival.

  1. The environment must have a sufficiently humid environment for the ticks to maintain water balance.
...read more.

Middle

Therefore ticks can only survive in the questing areas where a good cover of vegetation and a matt of decaying matter is available. This is why ticks are commonly found in fields and grassy areas when it has rained recently. Ironically although ticks need an extremely high water percentage to survive, they cannot survive floods.

Life Cycle

Ixodes Canisuga, also known as the dog tick, is the most common tick in Northern Europe.

There are three stages in the development of ticks;

  1. Lava
  2. Nymph
  3. Adult female

The life cycle takes 3 to six years to complete, with each stage taking at least one year. Blood feeding occurs once in each stage.image01.png

The diagram to the right shows the life cycle of a tick.

Larvae

...read more.

Conclusion

Adaptations

As mentioned before, the hyposome anchors the tick to the host, and the chelicerae help to keep the blood flowing, but ticks also have anticoagulant in their saliva glands. This stops the blood clotting making it easy for the blood to flow.  The tick also has elasticized skin so that it can expand whilst feeding on blood.

The diseases that ticks carry

Ticks carry the disease Borrelia, also known as lyme disease. This disease causes relapsing fevers. This disease is passed on because the bacterium migrates from the gut to the salivary glands. So when the mite feeds, the saliva containing the bacterium is passed through to the host.

They also carry encephalitis, a viral infection which is less common, but deadly. Encephalitis causes inflammation of the brain.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Height and Weight of Pupils and other Mayfield High School investigations section.

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