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a genus of Arthropoda of the family Argasidae. The body is flat, oval, 4–10 mm long, and yellowish or reddish-brown in color. There are about 20 species, distributed chiefly in countries with a warm climate; in the USSR, there are eight species. They infest birds, and one species infests bats. The fowl tick (Argas persicus) is found in southern regions of the European USSR, the Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Middle Asia, the Volga Region, and Western Siberia (up to 55° N lat.). It infests chickens and other domesticated fowl. It sucks blood at night and hides in cracks during the day. It is extremely harmful both as a parasite and as a carrier of spirochetosis in birds. It sometimes attacks man, and its bite causes a painful itch. It can be combated by treating poultry houses with insecticides.
A. B. LANGE