|Description:||This photograph depicts a dorsal view of an engorged female “lone star tick”, Amblyomma americanum. An ixodid or “hard” tick, A. americanum is found through the eastern and south-central states and can transmit disease agents that affect humans, dogs, goats, and white-tailed deer. Representatives from all three of its life stages aggressively bite people in the southern U.S. Lone star ticks transmit Ehrlichia chaffeensis and Ehrlichia ewingii, both of which cause disease. Borrelia lonestari, a pathogen associated with “Southern tick-associated associated rash illness” (STARI), also infects lone star ticks. Research suggests that up to 10% of the lone star ticks in an endemic area can be infected with any one of these pathogens. These ticks also are infected with a spotted-fever group Rickettsia, “Rickettsia amblyommii” but it is unknown at this time if this bacterium causes disease.|
As is exemplified in this specimen, the reduced scutal size enables the abdomen to expand to enormous proportions when ingesting a blood meal the tick extracts from its host food source. In the male, the scutum covers almost the entire dorsal abdomen. Also, note the four pairs of jointed legs, placing ticks in the Phylum Arthropoda, and the Class Arachnida.. To view additional images related to this tick specie, see PHIL 4407, 8676, and 8678 through 8685.