Characteristics of Ticks
Common types of tick found in Hong Kong include R. sanguineus and Bovine, which belong to the Ixodes family. They are about 1/8 inch in size, dark brown to black, and somewhat beetle-like in appearance.
Like spiders, ticks are arthropods. They can be divided into two main species, including Lxodidae (hard ticks) and Argasidae (soft ticks). “Soft and hard” refers to whether there is a shield-like hard plate on the back of the tick. Ticks feed on the blood of mammals, reptiles, and birds. They are small and flat before feeding, but body will inflate after feeding.
Ticks are parasites, which often have a preference in the body parts of the host. They generally hide in the parts where the skin is thinner, more moist, and difficult to be scratched, such as the host’s neck, back of the ears, armpits, inner thighs, pubic and groin etc.
Ticks are also vectors of some diseases, which could seriously threaten the health of humans and pets.
Problems Associated with Ticks
In addition to feeding on mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, ticks are also carriers of some diseases for humans and other animals. Although ticks are not a common human parasite, they still have the tendency to attack humans. Ixodes suck blood and secrete neurotoxins (sometimes paralyzing or kill the host), which will transmit a variety of diseases, some of which are listed below.