Frequent Specimens - Ticks
Did you know that ticks are not insects?! Adult ticks have eight legs compared to the six that insects have. Ticks are actually small arachnids in the order Ixodida. Along with mites, they constitute the subclass Acarina. Ticks wait for hosts on the tips of grasses and shrubs. When brushed by a moving animal or person, they quickly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host. Thus, ticks are sometimes found indoors after hitching a ride on you or a family pet.
Ticks can feed on a variety of animals including birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Encounters with ticks have been increasing due to more people getting out and enjoying nature, more landscaping favorable to tick habitat being incorporated into public areas, and the influx and spread of the deer tick. Because ticks are efficient feeders and tenacious once attached, there is potential for transmitting disease. With the increasing incidence of Lyme disease, Mainers should be in the habit of doing ‘tick checks’ after frequenting tick habitats. Dog ticks (see photos below) are larger than deer ticks and females have a large silver-colored spot behind the head. Dog ticks do not transmit Lyme disease whereas Deer ticks can.
Ticks Fact Sheet (University of Maine Cooperative Extension)
Additional Tick-related Resources:
- Insect Repellents Fact Sheet (University of Maine Cooperative Extension)
- Maine Medical Center’s Ticks in Maine page where you will find Lyme disease information, tips and photos.
- Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention: Ticks and Lyme Disease [Lyme Disease rash photos]
- Four Common Ticks in Pennsylvania (Penn State)
- Minnesota Department of Health — A very good page about the Black-legged tick (Deer tick) and tips for preventing Lyme Disease.
- Additional Photo comparing the American Dog Tick side-by-side (together in the same picture) with the Deer (Black-legged) Tick (including some nymphs); You can find a lot of additional images of ticks online at BugGuide.net