Tick Facts at a Glance

  • Ticks are arthropods of the class Arachnida (not an insect). Arachnids also include spiders and mites;
  • The general life cycle of a hard tick:
  • Egg – larva (has six legs); nymph (has eight legs); adult (also has eight legs);
  • All three stages (nymph, larva and adult) require at least one blood meal per stage to grow and develop;
  • The different stages (larva, nymph and adult) are progressively larger in size;
  • Many features used to identify the stages and sexes are difficult to see without a microscope;
  • Males take only small blood meals while females take large meals, each temporarily increasing in size;
  • Nymphs are distinguishable from adults primarily by size (the size of the blood meal taken can vary considerably between the hard and the soft tick species);
  • Questing is a term used to refer to a tick’s behavior in which they climb to the tops of blades of grass and await an animal passing by; when they sense the animal’s vibrations and/or heat, they grab a hold of the animal’s fur.
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