American Dog Ticks

Dermacentor variabilis
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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.

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

American Dog Tick Photos

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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.