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Author’s Name Date Insect Ecology: Paper Discussion #3 Question 3 A complete life cycle of Ixodes scapularis comprises of four phases namely eggs, larva, nymph, and adult. Host’s blood is required at every stage for growth into maturity, and a tick can go up to two years to complete the life cycle. The larval stage is the most vulnerable to the Lyme disease-causing vectors named Borrelia burgdorferi (Centers for Disease Control, 2012). Once infected, the tick remains infectious for the rest of its life. The larval stage feeds on small rodents and birds before hibernating until spring when it changes into a nymph. Nymph feeds on large animals such as deer. They can also feed on humans but this happens mostly in its adulthood, and by female ticks (Centers for Disease Control, 2012) When they feed on humans, they infect them with the Borrelia burgdorferi thereby causing Lyme disease. The image below shows the four developmental stage of a tick. Figure1 Adapted from Lyme Disease: A What You Need to Know, Centers for Disease Control, 2012, p.8. Question 4 Deer’s contribution to Lyme disease varies significantly due to a couple of reasons. One reason for variation occurs is due to changes in the stages of ticks and particularly on feeding opportunities. For example, the larva feeds mostly on the small animals, unlike nymphs that feed on large animals such as deer. Therefore, increased infections of deer are likely to be more after the nymph stage and later. The other reason for variation depends mostly on the predation densities. Levi, Kilpatrick, Mangel, and Wilmers (2012) explain that deer densities near carrying capacity are likely to increase the

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