This photograph depicts a dorsal view of a female Gulf Coast tick, Amblyomma maculatum. This tick species is a known vector for Rickettsial organisms, Rickettsia parkeri, and Ehrlichia ruminantium, formerly Cowdria ruminantium. R. parkeri is a member of the spotted fever group of rickettsial diseases affecting humans, while E. ruminantium causes heartwater disease, an infectious, noncontagious, tick-borne disease of domestic and wild ruminants, including cattle, sheep, goats, antelope, and buffalo. Note the considerably smaller scutum, or shield covering only a small region of its dorsal abdomen, unlike its male counterpart, an example of which can be seen in PHIL 10877, and 10878, which sports a scutum covering its entire dorsal abdomen. The smaller scutum in the female enables its abdomen to expand considerably, leading to an engorged appearance after ingesting its host blood meal.