Monday, January 16, 2017

Engorged blacklegged tick larvae waiting for spring, hidden under leaf litter

These tick larvae, photographed in mid-January in Tennessee, fed on mouse blood back in September. They spend the winter buried deep in the leaf litter, waiting for Spring and the opportunity to molt into host-seeking nymphs.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Yet another article using a photo of the wrong tick

Newspaper articles and TV news stories consistently use photos of the wrong tick species, but we expect better of Scientific American and USDA!

This is not a Deer Tick; it's not even a tick that spreads Lyme disease.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Engorged blacklegged tick larvae

Tick eggs hatch into larvae that have 3 pairs of legs (unlike the nymphs and adults that have 4 pairs). Larvae feed once on a host such as a mouse, usually in late summer, at which point they are refered to as "engorged".

These engorged larvae, full of mouse blood, may molt in nymphs within a few weeks, or later in the year may choose to overwinter and not emerge until the following Spring.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Updated map of blacklegged tick distribution

Rebecca Eisen and colleagues from the CDC have updated the well-known Dennis et al. (1994) black-legged tick distribution map.  Data for counties in several states, particularly Tennessee and Michigan, were contributed by the Lyme Gradient  team.

The distribution of tick sightings across the United States between a) 1907–1996 and b) 1907–2015  (D. T. Dennis et al., J. Med. Entomol. 1998; R. J. Eisen et al., J. Med. Entomol. 2016).
A ScienceMag story on the map includes a nice shout-out to Isis, for her PhD studies comparing the questing behavior of Northern and Southern ticks.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Female ticks laying their eggs in the leaf litter

These engorged female blacklegged ticks fed on deer during the first week of  November, and over the past 5 weeks have been converting the blood meal into a clutch of up to 2000 eggs.   Now they are beginning to oviposit, down in the leaf litter.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall colors - leaves and critters

This Eastern red newt (eft life stage) blended nicely into the fall colors; seen while working on Isis' 'tick gardens' today.   Plus a fungus shot ...