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a family of arthropods of the Acarina order. The structure and functions of the basic vital systems combine ancient primitive features with the best adaptation for parasitism among ticks. The body (1–10 mm long) is divided into the proboscis (or capitulum), bearing the oral parts, and a trunk (or idiosome), with four pairs of legs. The integuments have lost all traces of segmentation. The digestive and sexual systems are highly developed; the size of the trunk increases greatly when the tick sucks blood.
There are approximately 1,000 species of Ixodidae, distributed over all the continents except Antarctica; they are most diverse and numerous in tropical and subtropical latitudes. About 100 species are found in the USSR, from the islands of the northern seas, where they inhabit bird colonies, to the country’s southern borders, including the deserts and high mountains of Middle Asia. They are parasitic on vertebrates, both wild (reptiles, birds, and mammals) and domestic, feeding solely on blood. Many species also attack humans who enter their natural habitat. The development cycle includes the egg and three active stages (larva, nymph, and adult), each of which feeds once every three to ten days. Within a certain time after feeding, the female lays her eggs, numbering several tens of thousands for some species.
The Ixodidae transmit pathogenic organisms to humans and are the vectors of such diseases as encephalitides (the main carriers are Ixodes persulcatus and I. ricinus), tick typhus, hemorrhagic fever, Q fever, and tularemia; they also transmit disease organisms to farm animals. Protective measures include wearing suitable clothing and netting soaked in a tick repellent.
REFERENCESPomerantsev, B.I. Iksodovye kleshchi. Moscow-Leningrad, 1950. (Fauna SSSR: Paukoobraznye, vol. 4, issue 2.)
Pavlovskii, E.N. Prirodnaia ochagovost’ transmissivnykh boleznei…. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.
Balashov, Iu. S. Krovososushchie kleshchi—perenoschiki boleznei cheloveka i zhivotnykh. Leningrad, 1967.
N. A. FILIPPOVA