Lone Star Tick

A horror movie in one sentence: This is the female Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum) that bit me on the butt while I was minding my own business in bed!

Fortunately, she didn’t have a lot of time with me; she did not have enough time to get engorged. Lone Star ticks (named after the white spot in the center of the adult females) live all over the southeastern US (yes, including Texas) and have an “aggressive and non-specific feeding style”, primarily aimed at “large mammals”, which makes them horrible and annoying and SHE BIT ME ON THE BUTT, I really have to emphasize this!

This is the same Lone Star tick that transmits (occasionally) the “red meat allergy”, alpha-gal syndrome, among a variety of other exciting diseases I’m trying desperately not to google right now. They are also known as northeastern water ticks, turkey ticks, or “cricker ticks”. All three of their life stages (larva, nymph, and adult) are shaped pretty much like what you see here, just increasing in size, and count humans among the “large mammals” they parasitize.

I will admit that, in this case, since the tick clearly deliberately violated the photographer-subject bond by, and I will reiterate this, biting me on the butt, I violated my “do no harm” directive and severely harmed (“humanely euthanized”, thank you) her after taking these photos. Sorry, madam, but I do not want your potential 5,000 babies in my home (and especially not in my BED).

Identified via iNaturalist.

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