Bug word of the day — “obligate”
In the entomological world, “obligate” (pronounced “OBB-lih-gutt”) is an adjective that means “by necessity.”
Though this word is identical to the well-known verb “obligate” (pronounced “obb-lih-GAYT”), the pronunciation and the meaning are both a little bit different.
When we’re talking about bugs, the adjective “obligate” usually precedes the term “parasite” or “carnivore” or some other noun that describes an aspect of the bug’s feeding habits or survival strategy.
Ticks, such as the female lone star tick pictured above, are often referred to as “obligate parasites.” What this means, essentially, is that they can’t survive without a host to feed upon. The same goes for fleas. Both of these bugs feed on blood, as you probably knew.
Speaking of fleas and ticks, you should check out our terrific “Operation P.O.P. (Protect Our Pets)” videos on these pests, and learn how to protect dogs and cats from their attentions. You can view the tick video here and the flea video here.