Your Best Source For Learning About And Protecting Yourself from Ticks

Deer Tick & Related Species

Nick Names: Deer tick, Bear tick, Sheep tick, #(!&* Tick

Common Names: Western Black Legged tick, Black Legged tick,  European Wood tick, Sheep tick

Formal Names:     Ixodes scapularis, Ixodes dammini (no longer correct), Ixodes pacificus, Ixodes ricinus

Name Match-Ups:

  • Deer tick – Black Legged tick – Ixodes scapularis – Ixodes dammini (no longer correct)

  • Bear Tick –  Ixodes pacificus – Western Black Legged tick

  • Sheep Tick – Ixodes ricinus – European Wood tick

Description:   Can be confused with Brown Dog tick during later engorgement due to shield design, see pictures below.  Mouthpart is much longer than brown dog tick mouthparts.  Brown Dog ticks seldom attach to humans.

RepellentsPermethrin clothing treatment kills ticks and DEET based skin repellent helps repel them.

Diseases: Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis

Clockwise from top: female, male, larval, nymph

Deer Tick Engorged Series

The changing face as the deer tick engorges

Left to Right: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged, 1/2 engorged and fully engorged.

Note the circular dark spot above the mouthpart . . . this is the shield.  The shield does not change as the tick engorges and it is the key component, along with mouthparts in identifying different ticks.  

Because the engorged deer tick is often confused with the brown dog tick, we have included the same photo series so you can compare the two species.  Although the shield appears dark and similar in shape the shorter mouthparts of the brown dog tick are easy to identify.  Brown Dog ticks seldom attack humans.

Brown dog tick engorgement sequence. 

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