Little Monsters with Super Powers

posted in: Blog, Science | 0
Dermacentor variabilis (American dog tick)

Ticks are one of those insects that really make me wonder, “why are they here? What purpose do they serve?”

I have firsthand experience with these parasitic beasts. I’ve had ticks on me and pulled them off with tweezers. I’ve pulled ticks off of my son. I’ve found them on the floor of my house, likely falling off of someone’s clothes, and when I tried to crush them they resisted with the same resilience as an armored tank.

They carry Lyme disease, something I am deathly afraid of catching although I fortunately have not-so far. I had a friend who had it and they had to attach an external infusion pump to his bloodstream in order to administer antibiotics. If you don’t treat it, it can cause all kinds of problems for your body.

According to this article, there is a new study that believes ticks can launch themselves onto their would-be hosts via electrostatic attraction (static electricity), so even though they cannot fly or jump, this sinister super-power provides them a very clever and effective method of attachment.

If that isn’t scary enough with our current proportions, can you imagine if we were miniaturized and existed in a world where ticks might be equivalent in size of, say, a dog, or perhaps bear?

Bear in mind that ticks have barbed mouthparts allowing them to pierce deeply into the skin and remain there while filling up on their host’s blood. If that doesn’t sound like something out of the darkest horror movie, I don’t know what does. They even live off of penguins in Antarctica!

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of shrinking down and seeing the world at that level, or shrinking further and further into completely new worlds that exist in an area smaller than the head of a pin. Can you imagine doing that and coming across creatures such as ticks, ants, and scorpions on their own terms? Would they attack or could you befriend them?

Let me know your thoughts on the matter! Please comment below.

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