Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Robert K. Dearth

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Vitek

Third Advisor

Dr. Donald Thomas


Questing ticks ascend stems, leaves, or rocks, extend their front legs, and wait poised for attachment to a passing host. Ixodid ticks have four developmental stages. Because ticks detach and molt between stages most ticks require three separate hosts to complete their lifecycle. Three-host ticks quest for a new host between each stage, whereas a few specialist tick species remain on and thus require only a single host. These one-host ticks only quest for hosts as larvae. As much as 90% of the life cycle may consist of questing when hosts are scarce. Most of the literature on questing relates to adults or nymphs. The ecology and behavior of the off-host larval stage is less studied and for many species is unknown. In response to biotic and abiotic mortality factors, the larvae will leave off questing, taking refuge in microclimates near the ground to evade heat, wind, and aridity.


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