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Ixodidae Ticks & Tick-borne Diseases. Michael Lehrke. Ixodidae Ticks. Ixodidae ticks are hard ticks Taxonomy: Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Arachnida (Eight legs) Subclass: Acari (Ticks & Mites) Superorder: Parasitiformes (Parasitic ticks) Order: Ixodida

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Ixodidae ticks tick borne diseases

IxodidaeTicks & Tick-borne Diseases

Michael Lehrke

Ixodidae ticks
Ixodidae Ticks

  • Ixodidae ticks are hard ticks

  • Taxonomy:

    • Kingdom: Animalia

      • Phylum: Arthropoda

        • Class: Arachnida (Eight legs)

          • Subclass: Acari (Ticks & Mites)

            • Superorder: Parasitiformes (Parasitic ticks)

              • Order: Ixodida

                • Family Ixodidae (Hard ticks)

  • 702 species in 14 genera

Notable species
Notable Species

  • Amblyomma americanum

    • The lone star tick

  • Dermacentor andersoni

    • Wood tick

  • Dermacentor variabilis

    • American dog tick

  • Ixodes scapularis (Ixodes dammini)

    • Black-legged deer tick

  • Rhipicephalus sanguineus

    • Brown dog tick

General morphology
General Morphology

  • Hard scutum or shield, on females it is partial on males it is full

  • A capitulum (mouth parts) that projects from the body

    • Opposed to soft ticks in which the head is beneath the body

A americanum morphology
A. americanum Morphology

  • Red-brown color, females have white spot posterior to scutum, males have more than one spot around body

  • Mouth parts are particularly long

  • Festoons are present

Dermacentor morphology
Dermacentor Morphology

  • Females have a white scutum and brown body, males are brown with white markings (D. variabilis has more white)

  • Eleven festoons

  • Basis capituli is straight

  • Coxae get larger from anterior to posterior

I scapularis morphology
I. scapularis Morphology

  • They have reddish bodies with black scutum, males are usually mostly black

  • Lack of festoons

  • Have anal groove on ventral side, anterior to the anus

  • Adults are “1/2 sesame” sized and nymphs are “poppy seed” sized

R sanguineus morphology
R. sanguineus Morphology

  • Brown abdomen and scutum

  • Festoons present

  • Hexagonal basis capituli

  • Coxae remain same size

Amblyomma americanum
Amblyomma americanum

  • Definitive hosts: Cats, cattle, sheep, goats, horses, rodents, primates

  • Intermediate hosts: Cats, rodents, rabbits

  • It is a three-host tick

  • Southern US and Mexico

Dermacentor andersoni
Dermacentor andersoni

  • Definitive hosts: Dogs, cattle, sheep, goats, horses, primates, raccoons

  • Intermediate hosts: Rodents, rabbits

  • It is a three-host tick

  • Western North America

    and Canada

Dermacentor variabilis
Dermacentor variabilis

  • Definitive hosts: Dogs, cats, cattle, rodents, primates, raccoons

  • Intermediate hosts: Rabbits

  • It is a three-host tick

  • Central and Eastern US

Ixodes scapularis
Ixodes scapularis

  • Definitive hosts: Dogs, cats, cattle, rodents, horses, pigs, rabbits, birds, primates

  • Intermediate hosts: Rabbits, rodents, snakes/turtles

  • It is a three-host tick

  • Central, Midwest and

    Eastern US

Rhipicephalus sanguineus
Rhipicephalus sanguineus

  • Definitive hosts: Dogs, rodents, rabbits, primates

  • Intermediate hosts: Dogs, rodents, rabbits

  • It is a three-host tick

  • Entire US (your dog is

    not safe!!)

Life cycle
Life Cycle

  • Three host tick: feeds on three hosts during life cycle

    • Can be all different or the same individual

  • Molt in between feedings

  • Usually winter before each feeding and after molting

  • Progress from Egg -> Larvae -> Nymph -> Adult

    • Larvae, aka rebels, have 6 legs (nymphs keep it real with 8 again)


  • Usually asymptomatic, like a normal insect bite

    • Tick cuts into skin (can take 10 min to 2 hours to prepare), inserts feeding tube, and secrete anesthetic saliva! (Sucks, literally)

  • Dermacentor and Ixodes have been implicated with tick paralysis

    • Acute, ascending, flaccid motor paralysis, can result in death

    • Thought to be caused by toxins

  • Ticks can transmit diseases!

Treatment control

  • Remove the tick, duh

    • DO NOT use ointments/Vaseline or heat, ticks vomit, possibly forcing pathogens into you!

  • Avoid tick infested areas

  • Repellent (DEET)

Tick borne diseases
Tick-borne Diseases

  • Anaplasmosis

  • Babesiosis

  • Ehrlichiosis

  • Lyme disease

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


  • Formerly human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HE), now referred to human granulocytic anaplasmosis

  • Caused by bacteria Anaplasma phagocytophilum, transmitted by Ixodes scapularis

  • Symptoms include fever, headache,

    chills, muscle aches usually

    1-2 weeks after bite

  • Diagnosed on symptoms and

    can be confirmed by lab tests,

    treated with doxycycline


  • Caused by blood parasite Babesia microti, transmitted by Ixodes scapularis

  • Usually asymptomatic, can cause flu-like symptoms, dangerous to immunocompromised people

  • Diagnosed with blood smears, visualizing “Maltese-cross” formations, treated, usually clears itself or can be treated with drug combinations


  • Caused by Ehrlichia species of bacteria, transmitted by lone-star tick

  • Flu-like symptoms, malaise, confusion, rash, red eyes

  • Diagnosed on clinical signs and lab tests, treated with doxycycline

Rocky mountain spotted fever
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

  • Caused by the bacteria Rickettsia rickettsi, transmitted by Dermacentor variabilis, Dermacentor andersoni, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus

  • Flu-like symptoms, spotted rash, can be deadly if not treated

  • Suspicion, blood tests, platelet count, treated with doxycycline

Lyme disease
Lyme Disease

  • NOT “Lyme’s Disease” – Named after

  • Caused by the spirochete bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, transmitted by Ixodes scapularis

  • Acute: Flu-like symptoms, erythema migrans (bull’s-eye rash), Bell’s palsy, joint pain, fatigue

  • Chronic: Arthritis, neurological issues, persistent fatigue

  • Post-treatment: fatigue, sleep disturbance, cognitive defects, joint problems

Lyme disease1
Lyme Disease

  • Diagnosed with blood tests (after several weeks), treated with doxycycline, Ceftin, or amoxicillin

Lyme disease2
Lyme Disease

  • Prevalent on the East Coast and in the Midwest (particularly around this area and Wisconsin)

  • Prevalence is dramatically climbing

    • In 2000 MN had 465 cases, in 2010 that rose to 1293 (270% increase)!

    • In 2000 WI had 631 cases, which rose to 2505 in 2010 (400% increase)!


  • These diseases can be prevented by avoiding ticks, using repellents (DEET), and promptly removing ticks