Identifying your tick
About Deer tick
Deer ticks are also called the blacklegged tick and are known scientifically as Ixodes scapularis (in United States), Ixodes pacificus (mostly in Western US) and Ixodes ricinus (European wood tick).
Ixodes scapularis (or deer tick)
- Common in Midwest and Northeast United States
- Carries many different bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Transmits the bacteria for Lyme disease.
Dark red brown in color and identified by the dorsal “shield”. The male shield covers the whole body, where the female shield covers about 1/3. The nymphs are the size of a poppy seed. All are capable of transmitting disease.
Dermacentor or Dog Tick/Wood Tick
- Common throughout the United States
- Carries the bacteria for Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Tuleremia. Also responsible for anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.
Dermacentor ticks are larger than Ixodes ticks. Their shield is deep red with black patterns.
Ambylomma (Lone Star Tick)
Found throughout the southeastern and south-central states. The distribution, range and abundance of the lone star tick have increased over the past several years, and lone star ticks have been seen as far north as Maine and as far west as Texas. All three life stages (larva, nymph, adult) of the lone star tick will feed on people and pets. They do not cause Lyme disease but causes ehrlichiosis, tularemia, and southern tick associated rash illness.
Lone star ticks can be distinguished by their shield. Females have a white spot in the center.