The American Dog Tick

The American dog tick can be found in every county in Indiana. Of the three tick species we are focusing on, the American dog tick is the one most commonly found on humans and canines in Indiana – mainly because of its huge population and its size (nearly twice the size of the blacklegged tick).

The American dog tick (especially the adult female) has been linked to:

  • Tick paralysis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Tularemia
  • Anaplasmosis

Additionally, while the current evidence does not show a connection between the American dog tick and the transmission of Lyme, researchers are still looking for a possible link.

The following table outlines some basic characteristics of the American dog tick:

Stage

Appearance

Primary Host(s)

Most Active/Abundant Time Period Annually

Larval

Light in color

Smaller mammals (e.g. field mice) Humans

March through July

Nymphal

Light with some dark accents

June to early September

Adult Male

Cream/gray and brown with a pattern

Wild animals (e.g. deer); Livestock (e.g. cows); pets; humans

Emerge in April, peak in June, then gone by July

Adult Female

Cream/gray and brown with a simpler, two-tone appearance

For a quick reference ID card for identifying the blacklegged tick, the lone star tick, and the American dog tick click here.

For more information about various tips and strategies for preventing tick bites, visit our Prevention page.

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