Lone Star Tick

Amblyomma americanum (Linnaeus)
Pest Stats
Color: Reddish brown, becoming slate gray when engorged
Legs: Larvae have 6 legs, nymphs and adults have 8 legs
Shape: Oval, flattened
Size: Females are 1/6-1/4” (4-6 mm) un-engorged and 1/2” (16 mm) engorged; Males are smaller
Antennae: No
Region: West central Texas northward to northern Missouri and eastward from Maine to the southern tip of Florida

The lone star tick gets its name from the single silvery-white spot located on the female's back. These ticks attack humans more frequently than any other tick species in the eastern and southeastern states.



Habits

The lone star tick is considered a three-host tick because each feeding stage requires a different host. Feeding typically occurs during the spring and early summer months. Larvae and nymphs feed on the blood of birds, rodents and small wild animals like rabbits, squirrels and raccoons. Adults often feed on larger animals, including foxes, dogs, white-tailed deer and humans. This tick species then enters a non-feeding period in mid to late summer, which is triggered by decreasing day length.



Habitat

Lone star ticks cannot survive long exposures to sunlight, so they are typically found in shaded, wooded areas with low-growing vegetation.



Threats

All three developmental stages of the lone star tick can feed on humans by attaching to the skin using its mouthparts. This tick can be a vector of tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis.