American Dog Tick

Dermacentor variabilis
Pest Stats
Color: Brown with whitish to gray markings
Legs: Larvae have 6 legs, nymphs and adults have 8 legs
Shape: Oval, flattened
Size: 3/16” (5 mm) unengorged, 5/8” (15 mm) engorged
Antennae: No
Region: Found throughout the U.S., except the Rocky Mountains area

The American dog tick gets its name from the fact that adult ticks prefer domestic dogs as hosts, and this tick species is only found in North America.

Habits

It is thought that American dog ticks are attracted by the scent of animals, so they are common along roads and trails. Adult ticks prefer domestic dogs as hosts and can therefore be brought into the home and potentially transferred to humans.



Habitat

These ticks prefer grassy areas with low vegetation where larger mammals pass by. American dog ticks do not survive well indoors.



Threats

The American dog tick is the primary vector of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in the United States. It is also known to transmit tularemia, a rare bacterial infection, and cause tick paralysis.