Hello folks who wonder if the next stage of evolution for mosquitos is to directly steal from a blood bank,

What makes your skin crawl?

Apart from answers like "scratching on a chalkboard" and "wet bread", chances are most of the answers include some kinds of arthropods like cockroaches, ants, maggots, spiders and the like.

One of those arthropods that people hate with every emotion they have in their bones is the humble tick but as we will see in this post, they are fascinating little creatures that deserve our appreciation even if we don't want one to collect blood from us on behalf of the American Red Cross.

One of the common positions one might see a tick in the wild is like the one shown below spreading its front pair of legs waiting to be picked up like a little baby..Aww how cute!

This behavior of spreading its front legs is called questing but there is more to that than meets the eye. You see, these ticks are pretty picky on what they latch on to. So, they have a specialized organ called Haller's organ that just evolved in ticks and no other arthropods. This organ helps them to detect the carbon dioxide, temperature, pheromones, humidity and whether the incoming person is on Santa's naughty or nice list. This organ looks like a small cavity on their front pair of legs.

Another thing the tick needs to be good at, is to latch on to an incoming deer or some tight-fitting lululemons. A brief second is all it got so it has to make it count. That is possible by two ingenious adaptations: cushion-like pads on each of its feet that acts as an adhesive, along with 2 claws at the end of it. Here is how it looks up-close.

This superpower allows it to climb vertical surfaces like other insects but also allows it to flip over when it is upside down using the adhesive on one of its arms.

And finally, why is it so hard to remove ticks once they have started to feed on you or your pet. Ticks are introverts and you will rarely see them divulging their secrets. So, to get it on the gossip, you have to poke them. Not on Facebook but in real life. Here is me asking what it did last summer.

Just like how you keep a sword in a sheath when not in use, the tick also stores its hypostome concealed within a pair of appendages called palps. Below it is revealing the hypostome by spreading the palps.

The hypostome is a rod-like organ that is covered in backward facing spines which makes it easier to insert into a skin but difficult to remove just like a screw or a tattoo of your ex. The hypostome thus helps it to latch on to your skin while it finishes feeding which can last more than 2 days depending if it is following a diet or not.

Don't forget to do a tick check after reading this post. Why? Paranoia.

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