Tick vs Lice (Difference Between Lice and Ticks)

lice vs tick

Tick and lice, both are small parasites that may look similar but differ from each other. A Tick is a name given to the group of tiny arachnids that come under the Ixodidae family. Some of the organisms that belong to the tick family are American deer tick, the sheep tick, and cattle tick. On the other hand, lice are insects that fall under the category and known to cause diseases in humans. Some of the most common mites are- Anoplura, Rhyncophthirina, Ischnocera, and Amblycera. 

What Does a Tick Look Like?

A tick is a parasite member and shares its class with mite, horseshoe, crab, scorpion, and spider. 

These small creatures live as parasites and feed on the blood of a variety of different animals. Adult ticks have eight legs and can have different sizes depending on the species. The body of the tick is divided into two segments. The head and mouth are located on the anterior part of the body. Four pairs of legs are situated on the posterior part of the body. Ticks do not have antennas and wings.

Where Do Ticks Live?

Ticks can be seen in a wide range of habitats. However, they often prefer to live in warm temperatures and humid climates. Their favorite habitat is the clearing edge, where a line of the forest meets a lawn or a meadow. They mostly utilize low shrubs and leaf litter.

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Ticks can be found in every continent, including Antarctica, where they feed on penguins. However, the most notable species occur in the tropics. Each species live in a unique range and distribution. Some of the species live across vast regions, while others occupy a small area. 

How Many Species of Ticks are There?

There are two tick families can be seen in the United States- hard ticks and soft ticks. Hard ticks include 700 species, while the soft ticks consist of 200 ticks. 

What is the Size of a Tick?

The smaller species of ticks can measure a few millimeters in length, whereas the largest tick species are about 5 to 6 millimeters long but can even reach much larger when ingurgitated.  

What Does Tick Eat?

As ticks are parasites, they have an obligatory hematophagous feeding habit. Which means they need to eat blood to survive. Some of the species eat primarily mammals, birds, or even reptiles. Different species also attack in different areas; some ticks bite wherever they land, others attack on the face or in the ears of the animals. 

Tick Reproduction:

All the species of ticks reproduce similarly. The female receives sperm from the males and fertilizes the egg. The female lays several eggs. However, the number differs from species to species. The eggs get hatched into a six-legged larval. The larva feeds on a host and eventually metamorphoses into a nymph stage following the adult stage. 

Facts About Ticks:

  • Female ticks have the reddish body covered with black marking, while males are generally dark brown.
  • These parasites have sensory organs that can expose odor, heat, and humidity, enabling them to locate their host. 
  • Ticks can survive without food for around 200 days.
  • They are not able to fly or jump when they find hosts. They crawl till they get a suitable place.
  • Ticks prefer skin on the areas of head, neck, and ears because it is soft and can be penetrated. 
  • Ticks transmit various bacterial and viral diseases such as Lyme diseases, Q fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and many others.
  • Deer ticks transmit Lyme disease, which is considered a dangerous bacterial infection. People do not recognize they are infected with the virus as the initial symptoms resemble flu.
  • People can be protected from ticks by wearing tick-repellent cloths or by using sprays that repel ticks. 

How Long Do Ticks Live?

The life cycle of ticks includes four stages-egg, larva, nymph, and adult. It feeds on three different hosts during the life cycle. Depending on the species, ticks can survive from 2 months to 2 years.

Are Ticks Endangered?

Ticks are not classified as endangered, but humans use chemicals, birds that eat ticks, and wasps that lay eggs inside the tick to keep the population of these parasites under control.

What Do Lice Look Like?

Lice are small wingless insects that eat dead skin or blood of hosts. Lice have six legs and develop their bodies to adapt to living with the host. They generally have stout legs and claws. These claws help them cling to the hair or fur of their host. Lice are characterized by a separate head, thorax, and abdomen. 

Where Do Lice Live?

Lice have found in humans and mainly thrive by sucking blood from their scalp. They spread through ordinary clothes, combs, and other beddings. Other than head lice, humans are the host for different types of lice, such as body lice and pubic lice. 

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How Many Species of Lice are There?

There are around 2,500 species of chewing lice and 500 known species of sucking lice. And three lice species has known as disease agents in humans. 

What is the Size of the Lice?

The size of an adult louse is roughly 2 to 3 millimeters or about the size of a sesame seed.

What do Lice Eat?

Lice feed on dead skin and blood of hosts. Chewing lice feeds on mammals and birds. At the same time, sucking lice found on humans and mainly thrive by sucking blood from the scalp. 

Lice Reproduction:

Adult head lice sexually reproduce, and intercourse is necessary for the females to produce fertilized eggs. The breeding can occur during the day or at night. A single female produces 80 and 100 eggs in her entire life.

Facts About Lice:

  • Although lice are tiny creatures, both lice and their eggs can be seen with the naked eye. 
  • Thousands of lice can infest a single host at one time.
  • The singular form of lice known as a louse.
  • They cannot fly or hop, and lice avoid light.
  • The eggs of lice can camouflage themselves.
  • Lice infect an estimated 6 to 12 million Americans a year.
  • A mite can survive off the scalp for only one or two days.
  • Lice have associated with Rickettsial diseases. 

How Long do Lice Live?

The life cycle of lice includes three stages-nit, nymph, and adult, and the duration from egg to egg stage is about a month. Lice can consist of one month on a person’s scalp. 

How to Check for Lice?

Head lice symptoms can be an itchy scalp, but also causes other skin conditions such as dandruff, eczema, and allergies. To check for lice, use a fine-toothed comb and shine a bright light on the scalp. If there are lice, you can notice excellent brown insects moving around. 

Tick vs Lice: Comparison

Tick and lice are parasites that spread many harmful diseases in humans. However, they are similar in many aspects and differ in small criteria. The diseases caused by both of them have treated with proper examination and treatment. 

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