Sheep tick, SEM

Sheep tick, SEM

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Caption: Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a sheep tick (Ixodes ricinus). I. ricinus is the vector of the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi that causes Lyme disease. The mouthparts are adapted to pierce the host's skin and consist of two cutting, or lacerating organs and a penetrating, anchor-like blood-sucking organ. The tick may remain attached for several days while blood-feeding. On each side of the mouthparts, the tick has two limb-like accessory appendages, the pediphalps, that act as sensors and lend support when the tick fastens to the host's body. The terminal segment of the first pair of the tick's legs possesses a complex sensory pit known as the Haller's organ. The organ detects a host via olfaction and the sensing of humidity, temperature, and carbon dioxide. Once the host has been located the tick attaches to the skin using the claws. Magnification: x110 when printed at 10cm wide.

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