Photo by Melody

American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

Order: Acari (AK-ar-ee) (Info)
Family: Ixodidae (Ix-o-DYE-dee) (Info)
Genus: Dermacentor
Species: variabilis (var-ee-AH-bil-iss) (Info)


No positives
No neutrals
7 negatives


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Bee Branch, Arkansas
Deer, Arkansas
Los Angeles, California
Canterbury, Connecticut
Bartow, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Miami, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Winter Garden, Florida
Boise, Idaho
Metamora, Illinois
Troy, Illinois
Cedar Falls, Iowa
Coushatta, Louisiana
Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Durham, Maine
Penobscot, Maine
Marlborough, Massachusetts
Barton City, Michigan
Mount Vernon, Missouri
Derry, New Hampshire
Aquebogue, New York
Craryville, New York
North Collins, New York
West Islip, New York
Lilesville, North Carolina
Bray, Oklahoma
Muskogee, Oklahoma
North Providence, Rhode Island
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Harriman, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Boerne, Texas
Gate City, Virginia
Midlothian, Virginia
Suffolk, Virginia
White Stone, Virginia
Franklin, Wisconsin

By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis) by Floridian

By claypa

Thumbnail #2 of American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis) by claypa

By Dryspirit

Thumbnail #3 of American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis) by Dryspirit

By Dryspirit

Thumbnail #4 of American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis) by Dryspirit

Member Notes:

Negative Terry On Sep 3, 2006, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN
(Zone 7a) wrote:

Known transmittor of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Negative Kameha On Jan 8, 2007, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL
(Zone 9b) wrote:

We seem to be suffering from a large outbreak of this tick in Central Florida that started after the 2004 hurricane season (whether or not this is just a coincidence I'm not sure). I was bit this fall (the first time in my life as far as I know). I have heard that this species is a carrier of lyme disease so be sure to report to your doctor if you are bitten by a tick. They also go through an engorged larval stage that is easily spotted on your dog as a strange brown lump about the size of a thumbnail. Who knows why these things exist?!

Negative red_princess_71 On May 24, 2007, red_princess_71 from Lilesville, NC
(Zone 7b) wrote:

I have found this tick on my dog..I was told when i moved here about 10 yrs ago from Ohio, that when you see that big brown lump on your dog that that is the tick sucking the blood out of your dog and that if there is many of these on your dog that it can because anemic. Now when i found these on my dog there was many of them before i new what they were and they would get so big and when we took them off very carefully with a pair of tweezer, and was sure to get the head of the tick out of the dog, and killed it, the big light brown body was full of blood. It was really gross. So please watch for these on your dog and they are also found in the ears of dogs. These can be really dangerous to your dog. The next time i see one on a dog, i will try to get a picture of this so you all can see it.

Negative binny69 On Jun 1, 2008, binny69 from Bee Branch, AR wrote:

Late May, early June is the most prolific time for these ticks in our area. They are not only found on dogs, when we come in from outside we check ourselves as well. Just now they are tiny later on they will be large enough to feel. I think they are carried on the wind as windy days seem to produce more on humans. My dogs are protected with monthly drops and although the ticks get onto them, they are soon killed and then drop off.

Negative Mainer On Jun 28, 2009, Mainer from Durham, ME
(Zone 3a) wrote:

We do not usually have ticks in Maine and suddenly in the past few years, we have them all over the place especially in May and June of this year 2009. Very rainy and wet year but so far my cat is indoors and flea and tick collar on her and she gets checked by the vet as well.

Can't go our ourselves to the garden without them jumping on so we tick check and if anyone knows what else to do to decrease these pests from our garden space please give us a clue. Never have I remembered a summer where it was not safe to go around in shorts or to sit on the lawn but this year gardening is simply no fun because of these pests.

They jump onto the iris tags and then onto to me when I photograph. I wear jeans, a jacket and light colors to see them before bringing them into the house and even used deep woods off and it does not stop these critters from jumping onto my jeans or hair or shirt. Squishing them is the only thing I know of that kills them dead for humans but I am thinking of a new fashion style this year. Making anklets and bracelets of flea and tick collars for humans.

Negative FlyPoison On Apr 5, 2011, FlyPoison from Rock Hill, SC
(Zone 7a) wrote:

Almost perished from Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever, at the age of 2, from one of their bites. Very prevalent in the southeast.

Negative PriscillaKing On May 1, 2013, PriscillaKing from Gate City, VA wrote:

They really should go extinct. Lyme Disease has been reported here too; a friend suffered from it all last summer and a neighbor's child almost died (because the doctor didn't think of giving the right antibiotic in time, not expecting Lyme Disease here). They are easier to remove if killed on the site of attachment. A good splash of alcohol does the quickest, cleanest job, but the cats enjoy having any ticks they pick up drowned in salad oil.

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