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Haemaphysalis leporispalustris

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Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, the rabbit tick (occasionally known as the grouse tick), is a species of tick that is widely distributed in the Americas, stretching from Alaska to Argentina. H. leporispalustris is known to have one of the largest distributions for a tick originating in the New World. It is a three-host tick and a member of the family Ixodidae, commonly called the "hard ticks," and the genus Haemaphysalis.[1] Its common hosts are rabbits (such as Sylvilagus spp.), hares (Lepus spp.), and sometimes ground-feeding birds.[2] H. leporispalustris has a rigid scutum and a prominent capitulum projecting forward from its body and is often said to look like the "wood tick".[3][4] It has a hemimetabolic life cycle. H. leporispalustris does not play a prominent role in disease transmission in humans but is a vector for disease in other animals.

MorphologyEdit

Haemaphysalis leporispalustris is extremely similar to the 155 other members of its genus. It lacks eyes and has palpi that are wider than they are long. The scutum lacks ornamentation on both males and females. The basis of its capitulum is of rectangular shape, rather than a hexagonal shape. The adult rabbit tick is approximately 1 millimeter in length and contains festoons or wrinkles at the base of its body.

Life cycleEdit

Haemaphysalis leporispalustris has a complete lifecycle where it completes the stages of egg, larva, nymph, and adult. After emerging from the egg, the rabbit tick finds a host and takes a blood meal during each life stage. Once the tick feeds, it drops to the ground to molt and then climbs back on its host and takes another meal. The rabbit tick may change hosts throughout this process, especially if the host is not a hare or rabbit. This life cycle can take as long as a year, especially in climates that are cold. The population of H. leporispalustris peaks during the summer and declines during the winter.[3] Development of the rabbit ticks often occur at quicker rates at higher temperatures than in colder temperatures.

HostEdit

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