Lone star tick


Amblyomma americanum, also known as the lone star tick, and the northeastern water tick.

Also ref2242ed to as the turkey tick in some Midwestern U.S. states, where wild turkeys are a common host for immature ticks.

Lone star ticks of all lifestages, larval, nymph, and adult, feed predominately on large mammals, especially white-tailed deer.

Larval and nymph stage Lone star ticks also feed on birds.

The lone star tick resurgence is related to increased populations of deer, eastern coyotes, and wild turkeys.

The lone star tick has expanded into the upper Midwest and north eastern US and eastern Canada.

Lone star ticks can lay several thousand eggs establishing populations in areas with reproductive hosts, suitable habitats and conducive temperatures.

Current climatic conditions favor the expansion of lone star ticks along the southern New England coast.

A tick indigenous to much of the eastern United States and Mexico.

It is widely distributed across the East, Southeast, and Midwest United States.

It lives in wooded areas, particularly in forests with thick underbrush, where white-tailed deer reside.

White-tailed deer are the primary host of mature ticks.

The tick’s developmental stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult.

It is known as a three-host tick- it feeds from a different host during each of the larval, nymphal, and adult stages.

It bites painlessly and commonly goes unnoticed, remaining attached to its host for as long as seven days until it is fully engorged with blood.

A member of the phylum Arthropoda, class Arachnida.

It is sexually dimorphic.

Has a silvery-white, star-shaped spot or lone star present near the center of the posterior portion of the adult female shield.

Adult males conversely have varied white streaks or spots around the margins of their shields.

It is the primary vector of Ehrlichia chaffeensis, which causes human monocytic ehrlichiosis, and Ehrlichia ewingii, which causes human and canine granulocytic ehrlichiosis.

Other disease-causing bacterial agents isolated from lone star ticks include Francisella tularensis, Rickettsia amblyommii, and Coxiella burnetti.

Associated with STARI, Heartland virus and Bourbon virus disease.

Lonestar ticks do not transfer Borrelia Burgdorferi, the principal cause of Lyme disease.

Lone star ticks can also be found in areas between forest and grassland ecosystems.

It uses thick underbrush or high grass to attach to its host by way of questing.

In questing the tick climbs up a blade of grass or to the edges of leaves and stretches its front legs forward, in response to stimuli from biochemicals such as carbon dioxide or heat and vibration from movement, and mounts the passing host as it brushes against the tick’s legs.

The tick, after attachment is able to move around and selecta a feeding site.

The lifecycle begins when the blood-engorged adult female tick drops from her host.

It deposits around 5,000 eggs a few days later, once the female reached a safe and suitable location.

The eggs are laid on the ground.

The eggs hatch, and the larvae wait for or actively seek a host.

As the larva feeds, it detaches from its host, molts into a nymph when on the ground, and quests by crawling on the ground or waiting on vegetation.

The nymph emerges having developed the anatomy of either an adult female or male.

The female attaches only to a species of host for reproduction, and engorges on much blood, expanding greatly, then detaches and converts the blood meal into eggs, which are laid on the ground.

Females engorge to a weight of 5 g and lay 20,000 eggs.

The female dies after this single egg-laying.

The male Lone star tick takes repeated small meals of blood.

Feeding times for larvae last 4–7 days, nymphs for 5–10 days, and adults for 8 to 20 days.

It takes 6 to 18 months for a single tick to complete its lifecycle.

The lifecycle timing is often expanded by adaptation to seasonal variation of moisture and heat.

Ticks have long-term survival off the host without feeding and can extract moisture directly from humid air.

Tick survival is greatly reduced by excess heat, dryness, and lack of suitable hosts to which to attach.

A. americanum requires a separate animal or human host to complete each stage of its life cycle.

The female adult tick dies shortly after depositing her eggs.

Adult ticks usually feed on medium and large mammals.

Lone star ticks are very frequently found on white-tailed deer.

Lone star ticks also feed on humans at any stage of development.

It can be a vector of diseases including ehrlichiosis, tularemia and spirochete Borrelia.

This tick, however is extremely unlikely to be capable of transmitting Lyme disease.

It can transmit the heartland virus.

A lone star tick bite can cause alpha-gal meat allergy, a delayed response to nonprimate mammalian meat and meat products.

The allergy manifests as anaphylaxis, triggered by an IgE antibody to the mammalian oligosaccharide galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal).

Alpha-gal is in the saliva of the lone star tick.

Allergic reactions to alpha-gal usually occur 3–6 hours after consuming red meat, unlike allergic reactions.

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