- Common Name(s): Lone Star Tick
- Order: Ixodida
- Family: Ixodidae
- Common Species: Amblyomma americanum
- Commonly Confused With: Other Ticks, Bed Bugs
How to Identify?
Lone Star ticks are flattened from top to bottom. Adult and nymph ticks have 8 legs while the larval ticks have 6 legs. The females have a brown or black body behind the scutum (front section of a tick); at the very back side of the scutum, they will have a white or silver colored spot. Males have a mostly brown or black body behind the scutum with small white or silver streaks, bands, or stripes on the outermost parts of the body.
Where do they live?
There is no one primary host of this type of tick; they can and will get on numerous animals and humans. The nymphal and juvenile stages are found on smaller mammals or birds, but can occasionally get on larger animals or humans. They are very common throughout most of the United States and can be found in any areas where their hosts reside. They wait on grass or tall foliage and attach to a host as it passes. After feeding, the tick drops back off of its host to lay eggs or molt. These ticks mate while on the host, and once the female has taken a blood meal she will detach and fall to the ground to lay her eggs.
What do they eat?
All life stages of the tick feed on blood, and the males of this species must feed in order to reproduce. This is different from the other two ticks covered on our site. As mentioned above, ticks can feed on human or animal blood.
What do they do?
Ticks become a serious problem when they start to feed on humans. Lone star ticks can transmit a large number of diseases to humans, but STARI is one of the most notable of them all. There is also a red meat allergy that has become associated with the bite of these ticks. If you know that you have been bitten by any tick send it off for testing immediately!
As is stated above, these ticks are responsible for spreading a wide variety of diseases. This is most likely due to the fact that these ticks are not host specific, which increases the chance of spreading diseases because they will feed on such a wide variety of hosts. Many of the diseases that they spread are listed on the University of Florida website link listed in the Additional Resources tab below.
- http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/urban/medical/lone_star_tick.htm Check out the link to explore these diseases and get even more information on ticks!
Author: G. Wyatt West–A University of Georgia Graduate of Entomology
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