Adults generally feed for less than one hour at a time; parasitic, feeding primarily off of terrestrial birds, reptiles, and mammals and typically feeding only from late February until mid-July. All three stages (larva, nymph, and adult) can survive for more than one year without feeding. Engorged larvae, nymphs, and unfed adults normally spend cold months in grasses and leaf litter. Larvae feed throughout the summer, with nymphs continuing possibly to late summer. Males feed for about five days without engorging, become sexually mature and ready to mate, and then will resume feeding. Females feed for up to seven days (until fully engorged), during which time they mate. Fully engorged female will increase body weight from about 0.000176 oz (5 mg) to more than 0.0247 oz (700 mg). Each stage feeds on a unique host individual. Larvae, nymphs, and adults climb grass stems and bushes while searching for host. Can detect the presence of chemicals such as carbon dioxide associated with mammals, which indicates animal's presence.
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