Ornithodoros species are soft ticks (Family Argasidae). Included in this genus are several important vectors of tick-borne relapsing fever in humans, as well as parasites of domestic and wild mammals.
Like other argasids, Ornithodoros ticks have multihost life cycles. Argasid ticks have two or more nymphal stages, each requiring a blood meal from a host. Unlike the ixodid (hard) ticks, which stay attached to their hosts for up to several days while feeding, most argasid ticks are adapted to feeding rapidly (for about an hour), then dropping off the host. Two Ornithodoros species of public health concern in the United States, Ornithodoros hermsi and O. turicata, are vectors of tick-borne relapsing fever (TBRF) spirochetes. In Africa, Ornithodoros moubata (and possibly several related species) are important vectors of TBRF spirochetes (Cutler et al. 2009).
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