Tick Identification

 http://www.tickinfo.com/TICKIDPAGE.htm

Deer Tick & Related Species

Nick Names: Deer tick, Bear tick, Sheep tick, #(!&* Tick
Common Names: Western Black Legged tick, Black Legged tick,  European Wood tick, Sheep tick
Formal Names:     Ixodes scapularis, Ixodes dammini, Ixodes pacificus, Ixodes ricinus
Name Match Ups:
  • Deer tick - Black Legged tick - Ixodes scapularis - Ixodes dammini
  • Bear Tick -  Ixodes pacificus - Western Black Legged tick
  • Sheep Tick - Ixodes ricinus - European Wood tick
Description:   Often confused with brown dog tick during later engorgement due to shield design.  Mouth part is much longer than brown dog tick mouthparts.  Brown dog ticks seldom attach to humans.
Repellents: Permethrin clothing treatment kills ticks and deet-based skin repellent helps repel them.
Diseases: Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis
Clockwise from top: female, male, larval, nymph
Deer Tick Engorged Series
The changing face as the deer tick engorges
Left to Right: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged, 1/2 engorged and fully engorged.
Note the circular dark spot above the mouthpart . . . this is the shield.  The shield does not change as the tick engorges and it is the key component, along with mouthparts in identifying different ticks.  
Because the engorged deer tick is often confused with the brown dog tick, we have included the same photo series so you can compare the two species.  Although the shield appears dark and similar in shape the shorter mouthparts of the brown dog tick are easy to identify.  Brown dog ticks seldom attack humans.
Brown dog tick engorgement sequence.

Nick Names: Lone Star, Seed ticks
Common Names: Lone Star
Formal Names: Amblyomma americanum
Description:   The female is easily distinguished from any other tick by her pronounced white dot or star in the center of her back.  The star is actually part of her shield.  Lone Star are aggressive ticks and are known to move long distances in pursuit of the host.
Repellents: Permethrin clothing treatment kills ticks and deet-based skin repellent helps repel them.
Diseases: Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia and suspected of Lyme Disease and possibly Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. 
Left to Right: nymph, female, male
Left to Right: female, male
Left to Right: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged, 1/2 engorged and fully engorged.  Notice how star continues relationship to mouthparts?  The star is part of the shield and remains consistent throughout the engorgement sequence.  Shields on all hard ticks are consistent in their relationship to the mouthparts.

Rocky Mountain Wood Tick

Nick Names:  
Common Names: Rocky Mountain Wood tick
Formal Names: Dermacentor andersoni
Description: Looks like American Dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis - DV), and Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum - AM).  Mouthparts are shorter than AM.  It is a more robust, husky tick with a rounded thicker body than both DV and AM.
Repellents: Permethrin clothing treatment kills ticks and deet-based skin repellent helps repel them.
Diseases: Rocky Mountain Spotted fever, Tularemia, Colorado Tick Fever and major cause of Tick Paralysis.
Left to Right: female, male
As the tick engorges the shield remains consistent in size and color although it tilts forward to a more vertical position.
Left to Right: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged, 1/2 engorged and fully engorged

Gulf Coast Tick

Nick Names:  
Common Names: Gulf Coast tick
Formal Names: Amblyomma maculatum
Description: Looks like American Dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis - DV), and Rocky Mountain Wood Tick (Dermacentor andersoni - DA).  Mouthparts are longer than either DV and DA.
Repellents: Permethrin clothing treatment kills ticks and deet-based skin repellent helps repel them.
Diseases:
Left to Right: female, male
Left to Right: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged, 1/2 engorged and fully engorged



http://whatislyme.com/tick-and-rash-pictures/


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 http://www.mainelyticks.com/


http://www.mainelyticks.com/images/PTMe-Life-cycle-102010.jpg
http://www.mainelyticks.com/familysafety-lifecycle.html


Deer ticks need blood to survive. In a typical two year cycle, the tick must have three blood meals. The life cycle begins in the spring of year one. In southern Maine, adults lay thousands of eggs on the ground around the end of May, which hatch into six-legged larvae around the first or second week of August. The larvae are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. It is at this stage that the ticks receive their first blood meal, usually from mice, chipmunks, and birds. This is a point that larvae may become infected with the Lyme disease bacteria. After feeding for several days, the ticks become fully engorged and drop off the host, usually into leaf litter. They will remain dormant until the spring of year two when the larvae molt into eight-legged nymphs, which are about the size of a poppy seed. In the State of Maine, the months of May, June, and July are peak periods for nymphs seeking their second blood meal. While most feed on mice and chipmunks, it is the time of year when pets and humans start spending more time outdoors, and become unsuspecting hosts. Nymphs are very difficult to detect and easily overlooked. After feeding for four or five days, the nymphs will drop off the host and eventually molt into eight-legged adults. In late summer and through the fall, the adult ticks find their way onto large mammals, usually deer, where they mate. This is a time when humans and pets are again susceptible to picking up ticks. While still a threat, the adult ticks are larger than the nymphs and therefore easier to see. The females will attach and feed for up to a week, and then drop off and lay up to 3.000 eggs which will hatch in the spring. The two year cycle begins again.

Your Family's Safety

Tick Removal

If you spend time outdoors, you are apt to pick up a tick from time to time. Don’t panic if you do. Medical experts differ on the time it takes for a tick to infect a host- ranging from several hours to up to 30 hours after the bite for infection to occur. If you perform a daily tick check, you greatly reduce your chances of contracting tick-borne illnesses, including Lyme disease. Here’s how to remove a tick:
Using a pair of fine pointed tweezers, grasp the tick as close as possible to the skin. Pull straight out with a steady motion. A tick’s mouthpart is barbed like a fish-hook. It may take several minutes of applying steady pressure for the tick to let go. Avoid squishing the tick or pulling side-to side. Once removed:
  • Wash the site thoroughly with soap and water, disinfect with antiseptic.
  • If black-legged tick was engorged, contact your physician for treatment.
  • Early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may include an expanding red rash, flu-like symptoms, and/or joint pain and swelling. Only 40% to 70% of Lyme disease victims may develop a rash within two days to four weeks. If untreated, more severe symptoms may develop, sometimes months to years later.
  • Fill out a record of tick removal form.

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Tick Submission

Tick Diagnostic & Lab Services

Tick Submission Information
In some tick endemic areas of the country, as many as 40-70% of deer ticks are infected with the Borrelia burgdorrifi spirochete, the Lyme disease bacteria.  You won’t be able to tell if a tick is infected by simple looking at it, whatever the size.  If you remove a deer tick from yourself, family member, or pet, here are the steps to take to preserve and submit the tick for simple identification by your physician or vet, or for a complete pathogen analysis from an independent testing laboratory. 
Typically, only deer ticks are submitted for analysis to testing laboratories.  Further:
  • If you've removed an engorged deer tick, symptoms may begin even before the results of the tick analysis are available. Don't wait for tick testing results to seek medical advice if symptoms develop.
  • Even if a submitted tick does test positive for a pathogen, there is no guarantee that the pathogen was passed on to the patient. The longer a tick is attached, however, the greater the chance of pathogen transmission.
  • Overall testing is not perfect. Continue to monitor for symptoms after the removal of any tick. Keep in mind that if you've removed one tick, you've obviously been in tick friendly habitat. There may have been other ticks attached to you, a family member, or pet that you did not find.
After proper removal:
  • Place the tick to be identified in a crush proof container. 
  • Place a small piece of wet cotton in the vial along with the tick, as this will keep the tick from desiccating (drying out). 
Our ProTickMe kit provides you with a convenient tick submission vial with instructions, along with a record of important tick removal information. 
When submitting your tick sample and paperwork:
  • Make certain to place the contents in a padded mailer and send overnight or priority carrier.  Do NOT place the tick submission vial with documentation in a regular envelope.  Most mail is processed using high speed sorting machines, and the thickness of the submission vial exceeds the thickness limit for machine processed first class mail. 
  • Visit your post office if you have any questions.
Tick Testing Programs
Below is a partial list of state agencies and diagnostic testing labs.  In most instances, each site will have its own submission form. Recognize that some will simply identify the submitted tick at no cost while others, for a fee, will analyze the submitted tick for various tick-borne pathogens.  If you live in a state that is not listed below, consider contacting your state’s health agency to see if they support simple identification and/or further analysis. We will continue to update the following list as more sites are brought to our attention.
Connecticut
The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Tick office information. 
Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. Submission form for tick testing.
Maine
Maine Medical Center Research Institute Vector-borne disease lab. Tick submission information.
Massachusetts
UMass Extension Agriculture & Landscape Program.  Tick submission form and information.
Michigan
Michigan Department of Agriculture. Tick Identification and testing form.
New Hampshire
University of New Hampshire. Arthropod Identification Center.
New York
Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County. Tick identification - submission form.
Independent Testing Laboratories
Analytical Services, Inc. Williston, Vermont
Clongen Laboratories, llc. Germantown, Maryland.
Igenex, Inc. Palo Alto, California
Imugen, Inc. Norwood, Massachusetts.
Northeast Infectious Disease Diagnostic Lab. East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Tick submission form.
Stony Brook University Medical Center. Stony Brook, New York.



Related Articles:

http://lymedisease.org/news/lyme_disease_views/ticks-emerge-early.html
http://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/index.php/about-lyme/tick-vectors/photos
http://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/index.php/lda-news-a-updates/1307-new-virus-discovered-in-fl-lone-star-ticks
http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/20/health/new-virus-discovered/

"Results suggest that significant climate warming may reduce risk of anaplasmosis and the Powassan virus, but increase Lyme disease risk."

Press release from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Feb. 18, 2015
- See more at: http://lymedisease.org/news/lyme_disease_views/ticks-emerge-early.html#sthash.oD3u8gNy.dpuf

"Results suggest that significant climate warming may reduce risk of anaplasmosis and the Powassan virus, but increase Lyme disease risk."

Press release from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Feb. 18, 2015
- See more at: http://lymedisease.org/news/lyme_disease_views/ticks-emerge-early.html#sthash.oD3u8gNy.dpuf