Common Ticks of the Southeast

Throughout the southeastern United States there are five species of ticks that are commonly encountered but several more that live in this range. Below we list the species of tick, it’s common name, and diseases each tick species is known to vector.

Lone Star Tick

Amblyomma americanum

Photo: CDC

Associated with
Meat allergy/alpha-gal

Blacklegged Tick

Ixodes scapularis

Photo: CDC

American Dog Tick

Dermacentor variabilis

Photo: CDC

Gulf Coast Tick

Amblyomma maculatum

Photo: CDC

Known vector of:
R. parkeri rickettsiosis

Brown Dog Tick

Rhipicephalus sanguineus

Photo: CDC

Asian Longhorned Tick

Haemaphysalis longicornis

Photo: CDC

Known vector of:
Not currently known to vector pathogens to humans in the United States (US)

The Asian longhorned tick was first found in the US in 2017. Since then, researchers have been working to understand the dynamics of this tick from where it can be found in the US to the risk it may be to humans and other animals.

Click here to learn more about the Asian longhorned tick on the CDC’s website

Tick Life Cycles

Tick life cycles vary depending on which tick species and where in the world the tick is found. Most ticks in the Southeast are have four life stages: eggs, six-legged larvae, nymphs and adults. Different species of ticks also may use different hosts, or the same type of host for their blood meals in between life stages.

Ticks of different life stages and species can be different sizes especially if they are engorged from a blood meal.

Photo: CDC

Here is an example of the blacklegged tick life cycle over several seasons

Photo: CDC

Here is an example of the brown dog ticks life cycle and the transmission of Rickettsia rickettsii which causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Photo: CDC

The Southeastern Regional Center of Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases is supported through a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the University of Florida.
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