Your Best Source For Learning About And Protecting Yourself from Ticks

Lone Star Tick

Nick Names: Lone Star, Seed ticks

Common Names: Lone Star

Formal Names: Amblyomma americanum

Description:   The female is easily distinguished from any other tick by her pronounced white dot or star in the center of her back.  The star is actually part of her shield.  Lone Star are aggressive ticks and are known to move long distances in pursuit of the host.

Repellents: Permethrin clothing treatment kills ticks and deet-based skin repellent helps repel them.

Diseases: Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia and suspected of Lyme Disease and possibly Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  New information is available regarding a disease called STARI – Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness. 

COPIED FROM THE CDC WEBSITE AS A PUBLIC SERVICE. Recent media reports have generated some confusion about the lone star tick and its relationship to Lyme disease. The lone star tick does not transmit Lyme disease. Patients bitten by lone star ticks will occasionally develop a circular rash similar to the rash of early Lyme disease. The cause of this rash has not been determined; however, studies have shown that is not caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. The rash may be accompanied by fatigue, headache, fever, and muscle and joint pains. This condition has been named southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI). In the cases of STARI studied to date, the rash and accompanying symptoms have resolved following treatment with oral antibiotics. STARI has not been linked to any arthritic, neurological, or chronic symptoms.

The lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, is found throughout the southeastern and south-central states. The distribution, range, and abundance of the lone star tick have increased over the past 20-30 years, and lone star ticks have been recorded in large numbers as far north as Maine and as far west as central Texas and Oklahoma. All three life stages (larva, nymph, adult) of the lone star tick will feed on humans, and may be quite aggressive. Lone star ticks will also feed readily on other animals, including dogs and cats, and may be brought into the home on pets. The saliva from lone star ticks can be irritating; redness and discomfort at a bite site does not necessarily indicate an infection.
Tick-borne illness may be prevented by avoiding tick habitat (dense woods and brushy areas), using insect repellents containing DEET or permethrin, wearing long pants and socks, and performing tick checks and promptly removing ticks after outdoor activity. Persons should monitor their health closely after any tick bite and should consult their physician if they experience a rash, fever, headache, joint or muscle pains, or swollen lymph nodes within 30 days of a tick bite.

Left to Right: nymph, female, male

Left to Right: female, male

Left to Right: unengorged female, 1/4 engorged, 1/2 engorged and fully engorged.  Notice how star (white dot) continues the relationship to the mouthparts?  The star is part of the shield and remains consistent throughout the engorgement sequence.  Shields on all hard ticks are consistent in their relationship to the mouthparts.

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