are not insects, but are more closely related to spiders and mites.
There are four species of ticks that are of medical and veterinary
importance in New Jersey. All four pass through 4 stages of development:
egg, larva, nymph, and the sexually differentiated adult. In addition,
the ticks discussed here are 3-host ticks; they must locate and
feed upon 3 different hosts in order to complete their life cycle.
The animals that provide the bloodmeal are termed maintenance
hosts. With the possible exception of the brown dog tick, these
ticks are not host-specific and, thus, will feed on a variety
of vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles and incidental
humans. Although birds are important maintenance hosts, they are
not considered to be significant reservoirs of tick-borne pathogens,
as they are more important for their ability to rapidly disperse
ticks to new geographical areas.
Ticks acquire hosts via questing or host-seeking behavior, which
largely determines the type of animal that is parasitized. Because
of its importance as the vector of Lyme disease, human babesiosis,
and human anaplasmosis, the blacklegged tick receives the greatest
emphasis, but major differences in the biology, behavior, and
ecology of the other tick species are noted.
[Courtesy of CDC]