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Soft Ticks

After the egg stage, six-legged soft tick larvae immediately seek blood meals and undergo a molt. Following this molt, soft ticks enter the nymphal stage, during which time they undergo several more molts. Soft ticks grow larger after each molt and feed many times during this stage of development.

Unlike hard ticks, soft ticks do not have a protective scutum. Their mouthparts also are not readily visible when viewed from above. These mouthparts consist of two palps and one hypostome. The barbed hypostome is capable of penetrating human skin and is not easily removed. In some cases, the hypostome may remain within the host even after the soft tick has been removed.

Some common soft tick species are the fowl tick and the relapsing fever tick. Like hard ticks, soft ticks are known to be vectors of various diseases. Among them are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick-borne relapsing fever. Proper removal of soft ticks is necessary to reduce the chance of infection.

A pair of bent-nose tweezers should be used to remove the tick. Grasp the tick as close to the tip of the head as possible being careful to not break the head off in the wound.

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