This Tick Collection in Georgia Contains Nearly Every Species Known to Science

iStock/Ladislav Kubeš
iStock/Ladislav Kubeš

It doesn't matter if they're wood ticks, deer ticks, or lone star ticks—most people try to avoid the blood-sucking parasites at all costs. But if you're the rare person who's interested in seeing ticks up close, the U.S. National Tick Collection at Georgia Southern University is the place to go.

According to Smithsonian, the collection boasts more than 1 million tick specimens representing most of the 860 known species of the arachnid. The diverse assortment includes familiar names—like the American dog tick, which is active throughout most of the country—as well as more obscure examples like Ixodes uriae—an Antarctic tick that feeds on seabirds. Some specimens are more notable for their unique backstories than their scientific labels: One tick in the collection was removed from Theodore Roosevelt's pet dog.

Unlike some other tick collections, the U.S. National Tick Collection has never stayed in one place for very long. It's had multiple homes, including Montana State University and the National Institutes of Health's Rocky Mountain Laboratories. It was donated to Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in 1983, and it's currently at Georgia Southern University on loan.

Though already massive, the collection is still growing thanks to acquisitions and fieldwork by entomologists. Having a comprehensive catalog of ticks at their disposal allows scientists to study the diseases the parasites spread. In 2018, nearly 60,000 cases of tickborne illnesses, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, and Lyme disease, were reported to the CDC.

Preserved in jars of alcohol and stored in cabinets, the specimens in the U.S. National Tick Collection don't pose the same health threats as their live counterparts. The collection is available for students, researchers, and the public to view by appointment only.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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Do Dogs Get Headaches?

Even without raging benders, dogs might still get headaches.
Even without raging benders, dogs might still get headaches.
damedeeso/iStock via Getty Images

Like babies, dogs can be hard to read in the medical ailment department. Are they listless because they’re tired, or because they’re sick? What’s behind their whining? And can they suffer that most human of debilitating conditions, the headache?

Gizmodo polled several veterinarians and animal behavior specialists to find out, and the answer seems to be a resounding yes.

Although a dog can’t express discomfort in a specific way, particularly if it doesn’t involve limping, animal experts know that canines that have diagnosed brain tumors or encephalitis can also be observed to have a high heart rate, a sign of physical pain. According to Tim Bentley, an associate professor of veterinary neurology and neurosurgery at Purdue Veterinary Medicine, administering painkillers will bring a dog’s heart rate down. If signs of physical distress also decrease, a headache was likely involved.

Unfortunately, not all dogs may offer overt signals they’re feeling some brain pain. According to Adam Boyko, an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, dogs instinctively try to mask pain to avoid showing weakness.

Ultimately, dogs have many of the same central neural pathways as humans, which can likely go awry in some of the same ways. But the kind of persistent headaches owing to head colds or hangovers are probably rare in dogs. And while it goes without saying, they definitely don't need any of your Advil.

[h/t Gizmodo]