Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) flight around the body and head of an adult tick Ixodes ricinus. This tick is a parasite that attaches to a mammal and pierces its skin with its saw-like mouthparts, feeding on its blood for several days. The tick is an important vector of several diseases, including Lyme disease, Q fever and encephalitis. This tick is typically found in humid woods, heaths and grasslands, where it waits on a tall blade of grass for a passing mammal. Adult ticks are 2-3 millimeters long, with females larger than males. After a meal of blood, however, engorged ticks can reach more than a centimeter in length. I. ricinus is found throughout Europe including the UK, although it is absent from drier areas. more...
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