The evolution of ticks has made it to become one of the important vectors of pathogens to the human species. Ticks are small arachnids belonging to the group of external parasites that survive and feed on blood of various hosts like mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Humans are no exception to being these blood thirsty parasites’ host. This is why they became well known disease carriers, transmitting them to humans. Ticks are categorized into three families. The first tick family is the Nuttalliellidae to which only a single species of tick called Nuttalliella namaqua belongs. The other two major families are called Ixodidae and Argasidae. Hard ticks belong to the Ixodidae family which is the largest and most important family of ticks; then soft ticks belong to the Argasidae family.
Tick life cycle
The life cycle of ticks vary from the different species, which may be complex as maintaining their water balance during over hydration while feeding and dehydration while fasting. These processes are vital in their survival, growth and activities like disease transmission to both animals and humans. Ticks are found around the globe but are mostly found in areas with humid and warm climates, hence being common in tropical countries. This is their most suitable environment because they need air moisture to go through the stage of metamorphosis and they need the right temperatures in order to move from the egg to the larval stage.
History of ticks involves tick collection which were used for research studies and teaching of both parasitology and entomology courses in medical and biological science degrees. The earliest ticks were first collected during the period between 1906 and 1912. For instance, the species Hyalomma anatolicum was discovered from Aden in 1906 and Amblyomma variegatum and Aponomma exornatum were discovered from Nigeria in 1907 and so on. Tick collection continued through the 1920s to the 1950s. It has then further increased during the 1960s when Dr. J. Alan Campbell became the Lecturer in Parasitology during 1963. The collections were combined between the periods from 1963 to 1980 when Dr. Campbell passed away. It was during this period where ticks have been found all over the world from different forms and animal and from human habitats.