- Wild animals
Mite are quite dangerous and unpleasant animals that become active in the warm season. They are representatives of the oldest inhabitants of our planet, survived the dinosaurs. Evolution has practically no effect on these animals, they have survived unchanged, and live wonderfully in the modern world. Both animals and people are chosen as their victims.
Origin of the species and description
Tick refers to arachnids that feed on the blood of animals and humans. Nowadays, there are a huge number of varieties of this species, up to 40 thousand.
But two types play a significant epidemiological role:
- taiga tick - its habitat is the Asian and partly European part of the continents;
- European forest tick - habitat is the European mainland of the planet.
To this day, scientists have not come to a consensus about exactly where the ticks came from and from whom they came. The main thing is that for a million years of evolution, they practically have not changed. The fossil mite is very similar to the modern primitive individual.
The main hypotheses for the origin of ticks today are as follows:
- neotenic origin. Ticks could come from chelicerae animals, which were several times larger, but were at an early stage of their development;
- origin from floating larvae of creatures that were deprived of the ability to move, and did not have a central nerve rod;
- occurred by truncating the life cycle of an animal, which was more specialized.
The latter hypothesis has even been directly confirmed. So, a cheliceral animal was found with a clutch of hatched eggs. The larvae of these eggs are very similar to ticks, incl. have the same number of legs.
Biological control measures
To date, it is not known for certain about any specific species of insects or spiders, whose diet includes precisely grazing varieties of pests. However, there are a number of predator species that are known for their attacks on ticks.. These hunters include predatory mites, small beetles, and spiders.
With regard to plant protection, several methods and conditions are also noted here, the use of which can reduce the tick population. For example, crops with a high clover content are most at risk. Planting susceptible crops such as rapeseed, lupine, vetch and alfalfa should be avoided near clover fields or pastures where this plant is at its best. Also, early and constant treatment of useful crops from weeds, especially broad-leaved ones, will provide protection against the spread of the tick to cultivated plants.
Appearance and features
Photo: What a tick looks like
The size of the tick is small, depending on the type of animal, it ranges from 0.1 mm to 0.5 mm. Since ticks are arachnids, they have no wings. An adult tick has 8 legs, while a non-sexually mature individual has 6.
There are claws and suckers on the legs, with the help of which the mites are attached to the plants.The animal has no eyes, so a well-developed sensory apparatus helps it in orientation. Each type of tick has its own color, habitat and lifestyle.
Interesting fact: The tick's sensory apparatus, which is located on the limbs, enables it to smell the prey 10 m away.
The body structure of the mite is leathery. His head and chest are fused, and his head is fixed to the body motionless. Armored mites breathe with a specially designed spiracle.
Ticks are quite voracious, but in dangerous situations they can be without food for up to 3 years. Eating plentifully, ticks increase in weight more than 100 times.
Fun fact: Seeing a tick with the naked eye is hard enough. For example, put together three ticks in size will correspond to the punctuation point.
On average, the developmental cycle of a tick lasts from 3 to 5 years. During this long period, ticks allow themselves only 3 meals.
Adults are microscopic in size. The body length of this tick is 0.2–0.8 mm. The body has an oval shape and is divided into gnatosome and idiosome. The gnathosoma is
a complex of mouth parts. The rest of the body is represented by an idiosome. There are four pairs of walking limbs on the idiosome. The color of the body has several variations: it can be from orange-red to dark red, and sometimes even cherry.
The presence of morphological adaptations is characterized by the presence of long dorsal setae and specially arranged limb pretarsus. Thanks to these devices, phytoseiulus is able to slide between the cobweb threads.
Predators are nymphs, deutonymphs, adults, regardless of gender.
Where does the tick live?
Photo: Tick in Moscow
Ticks can be found anywhere in the world. All climatic zones are suitable for their life, regardless of the continent, weather conditions and temperature regimes.
The most overgrown with grass place that does not seem to inspire confidence can be absolutely safe, and vice versa, a well-groomed and ennobled park with landscape design can be overpopulated with ticks and potentially dangerous.
After all, the presence of benches and trimmed grass does not guarantee the absence of ticks and does not protect against encephalitis. There is a very widespread belief that ticks live in trees and wait for their victims exactly there, rushing at them directly from the branches.
But this is a fairly common myth that has nothing to do with reality. Ticks live in grass and as close to the ground as possible. The mite larvae are on the grass at a height of 30 centimeters to one meter. The mites themselves sit on the inner sides of the leaves of plants next to footpaths and animal paths and cling to anyone that touches this very plant.
According to statistics, a tick usually bites an adult on the lower part of the body: legs, buttocks, groin. But the overwhelming majority of children are bitten in the head and neck area. But, both in one and in the other case, there are bites both to the arms and to the torso.
What does the tick eat?
Photo: Tick in the forest
Ticks also differ in the way they feed.
On this basis, they can be divided into two groups:
Saprophages consume organic residues. That is why such mites are recognized as very useful for nature and humanity, since they make a certain contribution to the creation of humus. However, there are saprophagous mites that feed on plant sap. These are parasitic mites. This type of animal causes great harm to agriculture, since it can destroy the harvest of grain crops.
There are mites that eat exfoliated particles of human skin - the epidermis. These mites are called dust mites or scabies.Barn mites are suitable for feeding on plant residues that decompose, incl. rotting flour and grain.
For a subcutaneous mite, the ideal option is subcutaneous fat, which it takes in human hair follicles, and for an ear mite, the fat of the ear canals. Predatory ticks parasitize other animals and plants. With the help of its legs, the blood-sucking mite attaches itself to its prey, and then purposefully moves to the place of feeding.
Interesting fact: The blood-sucking tick can choose its relative, the herbivorous tick, as its victim.
Features of character and lifestyle
Photo: Tick in Russia
Ticks begin to be active in mid - late spring, namely in late April and early May. For their awakening, it is necessary that the earth warms up to three to five degrees. And this continues until the end of August, the beginning of September, until the temperature of the earth drops to the same mark. The population and density of ticks is directly dependent on weather conditions. If the summer was not hot and with a lot of rains, and the winter was snowy and not severe, then the next year the population and density of the tick will increase.
The female tick, after sucking blood in early summer or late spring, lays eggs from which larvae will appear, but they will only bite someone the next year. But, the larva or nymph, which have been pumping blood from the host this year, move on to the next phase of development also this year. After the tick has selected a prey and sucked on it, it may take about twelve hours before it begins to suck blood. On the human body, mites prefer hairy areas, as well as behind the ears, knees and elbows.
Due to the fact that ticks have saliva with anesthetic effect and anticoagulants in their arsenal, their bite is invisible to the host. The maximum duration of blood sucking by a tick is fifteen minutes. The lifespan of ticks varies depending on the species. Dust mites live from 65 to 80 days, but mites living in the taiga live for about four years. And without food, depending on the species, ticks live from one month to three years.
Now you know why a tick bite is dangerous. Let's see how they breed in the wild.
Biological characteristics of the insect
The pasture, or clover mite, entomologically belongs to the Bryobia family. These insects have relatively recently been identified as pests of winter crops and pastures in the southern parts of our country. This mite got into the first reports in the early 1900s, but it was only in the last decade that it was actively studied and controlled, since insects were identified as pests capable of causing significant damage in crop production.
It should be noted that control over parasites is complicated by the large number of tick species, as well as their small size and lack of suitable morphological features, which makes identification a rather difficult process.
In Russia, there are at least seven different Bryobia species that inhabit wide areas of agricultural land and pastures.
Of these seven types, three can be distinguished, which are the most common. It is against them that a purposeful struggle must be waged.
Social structure and reproduction
Photo: Encephalitis tick
Reproduction of ticks occurs in different ways, depending on the type of animal. Most of the ticks are oviparous. Viviparous individuals are less common. Individuals are clearly divided into females and males.
The following stages of animal development are distinguished:
- eggs. In the warm period of time, the female, after full saturation with blood, lays eggs. The average clutch consists of 3 thousand eggs. The shape of the eggs can be different, both oval and round. The size of the egg as a percentage of the body of the female is not small;
- larva. The larva hatches from the egg after a couple of weeks.It immediately resembles an adult tick, the only difference being in size as it is smaller. The larvae are active in warm weather. Small animals are chosen as their prey. Full saturation with blood occurs within 3-6 days, and then the larva disappears;
- nymph. The tick becomes her after the first good nutrition. It is larger than the larva and has 8 limbs. The speed of her movement is significantly increased, so she can choose large animals for herself. Often as a nymph, most ticks endure cold times;
- an adult. After a year, the nymph grows into an adult, female or male.
Interesting fact: The fertility of the female tick is 17 thousand eggs.
Natural enemies of the tick
Photo: What a tick looks like
In the food chain, ticks occupy one of the lowest positions. What is horror and nightmare for a person, then for birds and others who eat them, is a holiday. There are many man-made treatments for ticks. But nature itself has succeeded in this. There are a large number of insects and animals that feed on them or lay eggs in them. Spiders, frogs, lizards, wasps, dragonflies, this is not a complete list of those, it sees in the tick not a danger, but food.
Mites are also killed by fungi, causing them to have various kinds of fungal infections and diseases. Based on this information, you need to understand that mass persecution of a tick or burning grass is a disaster, because the natural balance will be disturbed, and this will lead to the death of both the ticks themselves and the species that feed on them.
And here, after the natural enemy has been swept away from hunger, a new mite may appear and develop even stronger on the remaining areas of the surviving grass. Also, burning the grass, they burn the coffin spores, which infect the tick and prevent them from multiplying and infect them with deadly infections. And plus, after burning, a new grass grows, even softer and better than the previous one, which certainly has a beneficial effect on the growth of the tick population.
What are the types of parasites?
Parasites are those living creatures that live and feed, only feed or only live on the surface of the body of another living organism, or inside it. Such living organisms, in which or on which parasites live, are called hosts. Thus, each parasite must always have its own host, otherwise the term "parasite" loses its meaning.
Another feature of parasitism is that as food parasites need host tissue or digested (digested) food. It is also a necessary condition for parasitism. If we consider the situation in general, we can say that a parasite cannot exist without a host, and a host without a parasite always exists more safely, since parasitism is always fraught with losses for the hosts. Accordingly, the presence of a parasite is always a disease of the host.
The most famous examples of permanent parasitism are helminthic infestations, lice and similar parasitic diseases. In this case, the parasite must always exist in or on the body of its host in order to survive. Outside of the master's body, he will die.
There is also such a thing as temporary parasitism, in which case the parasite attaches itself to or into the body of its host for some time, for example, for laying eggs or feeding. A classic example is blood-sucking ticks. Temporary parasites will also always need a host, or they will die, or they will not be able to continue their race.
We often come across the terms - exoparasite and endoparasites. This is an additional characteristic of the parasite, which indicates whether the parasite lives on the surface of the host's body or inside it, respectively. Worms are endoparasites, ticks, lice are exoparasites.
Parasitic diseases are called invasions.By and large, any viral, bacterial or fungal disease can be considered an invasion, however, for convenience, a separate classification was developed for diseases that are caused by microscopic parasites and they began to be called infection.