These Ticks Can Survive For Years Without Eating, And Live to Nearly 30 Years of Age

When it arrives to longevity and surviving extended quantities of time without having meals, the Argas brumpti species of African tick is really hard to beat, newly released investigate reveals.

Observed shut-up in the lab more than the study course of 45 several years by entomologist Julian Shepherd from Binghamton University in New York, some of these ticks have survived as prolonged as 27 several years – way earlier mentioned the common of 2-3 many years for tick species in common.


What’s extra, some of the arachnids were being ready to endure an astonishing eight several years devoid of any food, which is spectacular even for a creature that’s developed to get by with no significantly to consume or consume.

And for a ultimate trick, one particular of the feminine ticks laid eggs 4 years just after the dying of the previous male tick in the group. This is most likely down to the feminine remaining in a position to store male sperm for a substantially lengthier period of time of time than regular.

“The longevity of these ticks is apparently a record for any species of tick,” writes Shepherd in a newly published paper outlining his outcomes.

“The delay in copy probable represents extended-phrase storage of viable sperm, also evidently a report for any species of tick.”

The initial ticks were a reward to Shepherd in 1976, and he set them up for observation in his lab under steady situations – 21 degrees Celsius or 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit, and 81 percent relative humidity. The offspring of that original team are nevertheless alive and reproducing today.

It was when the foods supply – rabbits, mice and blood from rats – ran out in 1984 that the investigate into starvation begun, and it was midway through the eight-12 months speedy that the very last primary male tick died.


“I am often enthralled by the adaptations of organisms to their surroundings,” suggests Shepherd. “In this case, a dry ecosystem with virtually no accessibility to drinking water for extensive durations of time and a life-style that should wait around for really extensive intervals of no food stuff among encounters with host animals.”

A. brumpti are fairly big for ticks, measuring up to 20 millimeters (.79 inches) extended. Traditionally, they usually cling out in burrows, dust baths or termite mounds, searching for other animals (together with individuals) to snack on.

When they do bite individuals, on the other hand, they are not the trigger of any recognized illnesses. These creatures also have a comfortable and leathery pores and skin without having the challenging plates located in additional frequently known species of ticks.

No matter whether or not the offspring of the original ticks conclude up residing as very long is still to be identified – the youthful ticks are now headed to South Africa to aid with DNA investigation.

“Exploration on how organisms grasp these challenges can tell knowledge of how other organisms, which include us, may take care of comparable challenges,” states Shepherd.

Shepherd’s paper has been revealed in the Journal of Health care Entomology.