Thursday, 31 October 2013

Entomologist Finds Possible New Tick Species... Up His Nose

When entomologist Tony Goldberg got back from a trip to Kibale National Park in southwestern Uganda, he soon found that he hadn't returned alone — he had a tick up one of his nostrils. "When I got back to the U.S., I realized I had a stowaway," Goldberg told Entomology Today. "When you first realize you have a tick up your nose, it takes a lot of willpower not to claw your face off."

It turned out to be a type of Ugandan nose tick, known to burrow into chimpanzee nostrils. Goldberg, a University of Wisconsin researcher who studies how infectious diseases spread in the wild, got the genome of the tick sequenced (it was a nymph and couldn't be identified from its bodily features). This revealed that the tick is either a new species, or is a known species that hasn't yet been sequenced, Entomology Today reported.

The ticks appear capable of infesting both chimps and humans, and may represent a new way for diseases to spread between the two, Goldberg said.

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