Ticks in Egypt in 1500 B.C.?


REPORTS on ticks, their feeding habits and their possible medicinal qualities have been reported early in historical time. Thus Pliny (A.D. 77) in his Historia naturalis referred to “an animal living on blood with its head always fixed and swelling, being one of the animals which has no exit [anus] for its food, it bursts with overrepletion and dies from actual nourishment. This [animal] never occurs on mules [it is] frequent on cattle, sometimes on dogs on which all [kinds of lice] are found; on sheep and goats [ticks] only are found”. Aristotle (355 B.C.) in Historia Animalium stated that “ticks are generated from couch grass”; “the ass has no lice or ticks, oxen have both … among dogs Cynorhaestes are plentiful”, Cynorhaestes being interpreted as meaning ricinus by Theodorus Gaza and considered as a “disgusting parasitic animal”. Later (c. 200 B.C.) M. Porcius Cato referred to treatments whereby “there will be no sores and the wool will be more plentiful and in better condition and the ticks (ricini) will not be troublesome”.

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ARTHUR, D. Ticks in Egypt in 1500 B.C.?. Nature 206, 1060–1061 (1965). https://doi.org/10.1038/2061060a0

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