Amino acids: used to make protein and considered the building blocks of all living things
Context: Animals cannot make all the amino acids they need and must get the rest of them from other living things.
Anti-coagulant: something that keeps blood from clotting and turning into a scab
Context: Many bloodsuckers have an anti-coagulant in their saliva so that the host’s blood doesn’t get too thick to drink.
Blood meal: what many kinds of female bloodsuckers need to eat just before laying their eggs
Context: When female horseflies don’t need a blood meal, they eat nectar like male horseflies always do.
Carbon dioxide: a gas exhaled by animals
Context: When animals exhale carbon dioxide it helps many bloodsuckers find hosts.
Engorged: to suck blood until the animal cannot suck anymore
Context: The flea was so engorged it looked as if it might pop at any second!
Host: the animal that provides blood to the bloodsucker
Context: Bloodsuckers don’t eat the blood of hosts to be mean; they eat their blood to survive.
Parasite: animals that live on other animals
Context: Head lice are parasites because they live on human scalps.
Proboscis: a tube-like, flexible mouthpart used by many types of insects for feeding
Context: Mosquitoes poke with their proboscis and then use it like a straw to suck blood through.
Protein: an important part of blood that contains amino acids
Context: Many bloodsuckers need the proteins from blood so that their eggs can grow properly.
Repellent: something that keeps something else away
Context: Bug spray with the special formula, DEET, has been shown to be the best repellent.
Saliva: means the same as the word “spit.” Saliva is part of the digestive system because it starts digesting food even before the food is swallowed.
Context: When a bloodsucker bites you, it gets saliva on you as it begins to digest the blood. When you itch it is your body having an allergic reaction to the saliva.
Vector: an animal that carries a disease, but does not get the disease
Context: Ticks are vectors for Lyme Disease.