Sunday, August 27, 2017

Answer to Case 458

Answer: Questing Ixodes sp. nymph climbing on another arthropod (a weevil)

This tick is exhibiting a behavior called "questing" (from the Latin quaerere 'ask, seek'). This is a behavior of hard ticks (family Ixodidae) in which they crawl up vertical surfaces such as grass, sticks and leaves and extend their front legs in order to facilitate contact with a suitable host. This behavior is often stimulated when the tick senses heat or movement - signs that a host is nearby.

What was fun about this photo is that it shows that ticks don't really care what they crawl up in order to get to their host. In this case, the weevil was in the way and therefore was also scaled. This reminded me of the inspirational posters that we see everywhere these days, and so I decided to make my own inspirational meme:
Anon points out that this tick could also be 'catching a ride' on the weevil. That behavior is called "phoresy" - a non-parasitic association between 2 organisms in which one travels on the body of another.

Happy Labor Day weekend to all of my American and Canadian readers!

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