Ixodes ricinus nymph

Nyph of Ixodes ricinus/castor bean tick

Ixodes ricinus belongs to the family of hard ticks (ixodidae). They are distinguished from soft ticks by presence of a hard shield (scutum). It is segmented in to body parts: The gnathosoma which contains the head and mouthparts, and the posterior idiosoma which contains the legs, digestive tract.

On the outside of the mouthparts are the pedipalps that grope the consistence of the skin. On the inside are chelicerae that cut into the skin.

The legs consist of 6 segments and end with two claws and a pulvillus that helps to hold on smooth surfaces. The first pair of legs hold chemoreceptors called Haller’s organ that can detect odors as well as changes in temperature and air currents. This organ helps the tick to find their potential host that can be diverse mammals depending on the stage of the tick.

The life cycle stages are egg, larvae, nymph and adult.  Nymphs and adults actively seek hosts and also feed on humans.


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