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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Lone Star Tick: 19 Facts You Won't Believe!

Lone star tick facts are about this species that can transmit diseases.

Lone star ticks belong to phylum Arthropods. They are also known as ‘turkey tick’ and the ‘cricket tick’. They are hard ticks, also known as scale ticks. Ticks, the lone star species, are predominantly found in the southeastern United States. Lone star ticks feed on the blood of animals such as humans, farm animals, and wild animals. In each stage of their lives, they feed on different animals. This is because, after engorging, they fall from the body of the host.

In the earlier stages, nymphs feed on smaller mammals such as rats and birds. As they grow older, they choose larger mammals such as horses and deer. The lone tick is a threat to these animals, including humans. Similar to other ticks, this tick also acts as a transmitter of numerous diseases such as the southern tick associated rash illness (STARI), Tularemia, rocky mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, and alpha-gal syndrome (red meat allergy). However, lone star ticks do not spread bacteria responsible for Lyme disease.

Alpha-gal syndrome is particularly dangerous as it develops a lifelong allergy to red meat and mammal products, including dairy. There can be many symptoms, including a sudden drop in blood pressure. In severe cases, it may lead to anaphylaxis and can be fatal. Usually, the symptoms show four to six hours after eating red meat. To prevent this tick-borne allergy, you should wear full-sleeve shirts and long pants to ward off tick bites.  

If you like this article, why not check out more facts about the ladybird and brown dog ticks.

Lone Star Tick Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lone star tick?

Lone star ticks belong to the Ixodidae family of hard ticks. They are also called scale ticks because they have a hard shield called a scutum. These ticks are ectoparasites, meaning they need hosts for food to survive.

What classes of animals does a lone star tick belong to?

This tick belongs to the class of arthropods. Their characteristic features include jointed legs and an outer covering made of chitin.

How many lone star ticks are there in the world?

Lone star ticks are concentrated in a small part of the world, mainly in the US and Mexico. There is not enough data on their population, but it is believed that they are available in large numbers. They are also spreading to new areas.

Where does a lone star tick live?

They usually live in the woods but they are also found on beaches and in grasslands.

What is a lone star tick's habitat?

These ticks live on the body of their hosts and they lay their eggs under the leaf litter. They are found in the United States, with high concentrations in the southeastern parts. Also, this tick can be found in central Texas and Ohio.

Who do lone star ticks live with?

These ticks usually live on any host animal, including humans. They can be found on mammals such as cattle, deer, horses, and also on birds. They can live on their host for as long as a week without the knowledge of the host.

How long does a lone star tick live?

They live for about three years.

How do they reproduce?

The adult female lays around 5,000-20,000 eggs after it falls off its host. This marks the beginning of the lifecycle of this creature. These eggs are stored in a wet climate among the litter. Later, these eggs develop into the larvae stage and at this stage, they have six legs. They shortly undergo a process called ‘questing’ where each larva finds its host and feeds on its blood. The larva gradually falls off the host after a few days and finally transforms into the nymph stage. In this stage, the creature develops eight legs. These also undergo the same procedure of questing, resulting in the final adult stage.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status seems to be a matter of Least Concern. They feed on humans, domestic and wild animals, and in the process can spread diseases. They are also available in fairly large numbers in some parts of the United States.

Lone Star Tick Fun Facts

What do lone star ticks look like?

Flat and oval in shape, the lone star tick male has several white spots that look like an inverted horseshoe on its back. A female lone star tick has a spot that is silver or white in color on its back.

Lone star ticks are very aggressive in nature.

How cute are they?

Females have a central white dot or lone star on their back, and males have reversed horseshoe-shaped white spots on their back. However they feed on the blood of humans! When fully engorged with blood, adult ticks appear grayish.

How do they communicate?

Potential hosts are known to release certain chemicals such as carbon dioxide. A lone star tick detects these chemicals and falls on them during the process of questing.

How big is a lone star tick?

The length of a male is 0.10-0.15 in (0.25-0.38 cm) and females measure about 0.15-0.25 in (0.38-0.63 cm).

How fast can a lone star tick run?

Lone star nymphs can run very fast and can cover the legs or arms of a person in less than five minutes.

How much does a lone star tick weigh?

An adult female weighs up to 0.006-0.011 lb (5 g) after it is fully engorged with blood. Generally, they weigh between 0.006-0.011 lb (3-5 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female ticks of this species are called male lone star ticks and female lone star ticks.

What would you call a baby lone star tick?

A baby tick is known as larvae in its earliest stage and later as a nymph.

What do they eat?

Lone stars are three-host ticks, meaning they need a blood meal from their hosts for every stage of life. Humans, dogs, horses, birds, squirrels, opossums, rabbits, raccoons, and deers are some common hosts of these ticks. They don't affect dogs as such but can spread very harmful diseases.

Are they dangerous?

Like several other tick-borne diseases, even these ticks are known to spread diseases. These ticks can spread rocky mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, southern tick associated rash illness (STARI), alpha-gal syndrome (red meat allergy), and Tularemia.

Would they make a good pet?

They can’t even be considered as a pet. This is because they survive on the body of your other pets and also on your own body as well. This tick lives by sucking the blood of humans and cattle. It will bite and suck your blood without your knowledge and remain on your body for up to a week. Their bites cause painful rashes on your skin. Loss of blood due to their constant sucking can make you anemic. Like all other ticks, they act as vectors of several diseases. A few diseases that they are known to transmit are rocky mountain spotted fever, alpha-gal syndrome, Ehrlichiosis, southern tick associated rash illness (STARI), and Tularemia.

Did you know...

The bite of this creature is known to cause a severe form of meat allergy known as the alpha-gal syndrome. The person affected with this disease develops allergic reactions to red meat.

Are lone star tick bites dangerous?

The bites of these ticks leave a circular mark which is initially painless. However, the bite becomes painful. Most ticks have diseases that can be transmitted through a bite. It is usually in the nymph and adult stages that they transmit the most diseases. You should wash the area of tick bites thoroughly if you find any rashes to avoid diseases common after a tick bite. Usually, a tick needs to be attached for 36-48 hours to transmit diseases like Lyme disease. For alpha-gal, it narrows down to three to six hours. The transmit time can be as little as 15 minutes.

What diseases does the lone star tick bite carry?

The bite of this creature is known to transmit several diseases. Some of them are Ehrlichiosis, Tularemia, southern tick associated rash illness (STARI), and rocky mountain spotted fever. STARI is a disease that is very similar to Lyme disease. It has common symptoms of fever, headache, pains, and aches in joints and muscles.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods from our oriental cockroach facts and silk worm facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Lone Star Tick coloring pages.

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