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Blood-sucking acarid parasites of the order Ixodida comprising two families: the softbacked ticks (ARGASIDAE) and hardbacked ticks (IXODIDAE). Ticks are larger than their relatives, the MITES. They penetrate the skin of their host by means of highly specialized, hooked mouth parts and feed on its blood. Ticks attack all groups of terrestrial vertebrates. In humans they are responsible for many TICK-BORNE DISEASES, including the transmission of ROCKY MOUNTAIN SPOTTED FEVER; TULAREMIA; BABESIOSIS; AFRICAN SWINE FEVER; and RELAPSING FEVER. (From Barnes, Invertebrate Zoology, 5th ed, pp543-44)

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