Philip, Cornelius B. Department of Entomology, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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A suborder of the Acari (Acarina), class Arachnida, comprising the ticks. Ticks differ from mites, their nearest relatives, in their larger size and in having a pair of breathing pores, or spiracles, behind the third or fourth pair of legs. They have a gnathosoma (or so-called head or capitulum), which consists of a base (basis capituli), a pair of palps, and a rigid, elongated, ventrally toothed hypostome that anchors the parasite to its host. They also have a pair of protrusible cutting organs, or chelicerae, which permit the insertion of the hypostome. The stages in the life cycle are egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The larvae have three pairs of legs; nymphs and adults have four pairs. The approximately 900 known species are all bloodsucking, external parasites of vertebrates, including amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. See also: Acari; Arachnida; Parasitology
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