Tick Identification

How do I identify a tick?

The information below may be helpful in identifying which species of tick you have and which life stage it may be. You can also send your tick to VDH for help with identification!

If you start to become sick after a tick bite, a tick identification can help your doctor determine what tick disease you may have gotten, and provide the best treatment for your illness.

You can send your tick to VDH through the tick survey program: Virginia Tick Survey

Illustration of life stages of American Dog Tick

American Dog Tick

The American Dog Tick can be found throughout Virginia and can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which affects humans and dogs. The adult females (af) can be identified by their off-white patterned scutum (“shield” that is on their back), just behind their head, and the dark brown color of their body.

Illustration of Blacklegged Tick life cycle

Blacklegged Tick

The Blacklegged Tick, often called the “deer tick”, is a tick of major public health importance for Lyme Disease in Virginia and the Eastern U.S. The male ticks are dark brown or black in color and resemble a small watermelon seed. The females are red-brown behind their black scutum (shield) that is just behind their head (on the tick’s back).

Illustration of Lone Star Tick life cycle

Lone Star Tick

The Lone Star Tick can be found throughout Virginia but usually lives in areas below 1,600 ft. in elevation. This tick is an aggressive biter and has the potential to transmit serious diseases such as Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The adult female is best recognized by a white dot, or “lone star,” on the center of her back.

Picture of Aisan Longhorned Tick

Asian Longhorned Tick

The Asian Longhorned Tick (also known as a Bush Tick or Cattle Tick) is native to East Asia and has only recently [May 2017] been identified in the United States. It is unknown how long this tick has been in the U.S.

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