Amblyomma americanum

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Amblyomma americanum (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): James Gathany, CDC
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Amblyomma americanum (Linnaeus) - (lone star tick)

The tick feeds on a variety of domestic and wild animals in mid-southern and eastern North America. Its favoured host is the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and other cervids. However, it frequently bites humans and domestic animals like cattle, horses, dogs and cats. Further hosts are birds, foxes and racoons. It is an important vector of ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii) in humans and dogs. In addition, it can transmit Francisella, Rickettsia and Borrelia diseases, but not Borrelia burgdorferi (Stromdahl et al., 2018). The bites can be quite painful and cause considerable inflammations.

The preferred habitats are wooded areas with large trees and dense underbrush. For control, preventive measures like repellents and proper clothing on the legs is recommended. The life cycle extends over several years and involves 3 hosts with the ticks dropping off their hosts after each feeding for moulting or egg-laying. All three stages can bite humans and persons may pick up 20 or more larvae or nymphs at one time.

Vernacular names
• English: lone star tick
• Español: garrapata de la estrella solitaria
• Français: tique étoilée d’Amérique

The adult females are around 5 mm large, with a round body (in comparison to other common ticks), brown colour and a conspicuous whitish spot on the back near the end of the scutum. Males are smaller, lack the conspicuous white spot but may have a whitish pattern along the posterior body margin.

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.