Lyme disease tick (Ixodes ricinus) mouthparts, light micrograph (LM). Close-up from a whole mount of the mouthparts of an adult female Lyme disease tick, the principal vector of the disease in Europe. This tick is a blood-sucking parasite of animals and humans. Here its specialised mouthparts used to pierce the host's skin are seen. The long hypostome (centre) is inserted with its backward pointing barbs anchoring the animal. Blood flows along the hypostome. Sensory pedipalps are on both sides of the mouth. Lyme disease occurs when the biting tick transmits a bacterium to humans. Lyme disease causes fever, muscle pain, and inflamed joints. Magnification: x75 when printed at 10cm wide.
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