Water absorbed from humid air: brown dog tick
The mouths of ticks absorb water vapor from the atmosphere by secreting a hydrophilic solution.
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"The salivary glands are the organs of osmoregulation in ticks and, as such, are critical to the biological success of ticks both during the extended period off the host and also during the feeding period on the host. Absorption of water vapour from unsaturated air into hygroscopic fluid produced by the salivary glands permit the tick to remain hydrated and viable during the many months between blood-meals. When feeding, the tick is able to return about 70% of the fluid and ion content of the blood-meal into the host by salivation into the feeding site. This saliva also contains many bioactive protein and lipid components that aid acquisition of the blood-meal. The salivary glands are the site of pathogen development and the saliva the route of transmission. The importance of the multifunctional salivary glands to tick survival and vector competency makes the glands a potential target for intervention." (Bowman and Sauer 2004:S67)
Close-up of the mouth parts of the brown dog tick showing secretion. When humidity rises above 41%, the hydrophilic secretion absorbs the moisture and is drawn back into the tick.
Artist: Emily Harrington. Copyright: All rights reserved. See gallery for details.
Rhipicephalus sanguineus Latreille, 1806
[Kennel tick, Tropical dog tick, Pan-tropical dog tick]
IUCN Red List Status: Unknown
Some organism data provided by: TicksBase
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist
Application Ideas: Device that desiccates humid air before it enters a building to reduce energy needed in air conditioning (drier air, less cooling needed). Might even be a source of water for flushing toilets, etc. Device that keeps cold engine parts from sweating by removing moisture from air--reduces need for biocides against moisture-loving bacteria. Device that gathers water from humid air for drip irrigation. Osmotic solution could be used to channel moisture away from sensitive electronic parts or moisture sensitive packaged goods, or could be adapted for microfluidic devices.
Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Building, manufacturing, agriculture, electronics, packaging
University of Aberdeen