"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

December 28, 2010

December 28 - Hyalomma dromedarii

The three wise men are said to have brought three gifts, but perhaps they brought four. The tick, Hyalomma dromedarii, is the most common ectoparasite of camels found in the Middle East. Because of the high temperatures, the females need to burrow down into the sand to lay their eggs. The larvae find a host and feed, but unlike ticks in more temperate climates that usually then drop off to molt, the larvae of H. dromedarii stay put on their host, molt, and feed again. The first host may be a rabbit, hedgehog, bird, or other small livestock, however if the first host that they feed from is a camel itself, they will sometimes stay right there and complete their entire life cycle on the same host. Dropping off into the hot sand is just far too risky, it seems.

Image is from this site.

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