Tick (Dermacentor sp.)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Tick.
Updated: 1/30/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Ticks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and all are parasites, some the American Dog Tick is not known to carry the parasites that cause Lyme Disease, so that's nice.
Ticks are parasites that feed off the blood of a host. Almost any warm-blooded animal will suffice. As they feed, they release anticoagulants, special chemicals that prevent blood from clotting (stopping). Their mouths are so tiny that most hosts like people and dogs do not feel the bite. They might not even realize they were a host even after the tick leaves. Fortunately, the American Dog Tick is not known to carry Lyme Disease, the most popular affliction associated with ticks.
Ticks are not bugs, they are arachnids, which means they have 8 legs. Some ticks are round (like beans) while others are flat with festoons (folds that look like a ridge) around their abdomen. All ticks are parasitic. Their body shape color can greatly change after a blood meal.
Some, but not all tick bites can develop a red ring, like a target, around the bite site. Complete and speedy removal of a tick from a host can help avoid the spread of tick-borne diseases.
Some species of tick are capable of spreading disease to humans (Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever). Although the infectious agent does not affect the tick, once it is passed through the tick's saliva into the human bloodstream, it can cause an array of symptoms including fatigue, headaches and general malaise. If you suspect you have been bitten by a tick, seeking the advice of a medical professional as soon as possible is prudent.