Wednesday, May 22, 2013

American Dog Tick on Dandelion flower - Ick!

And now, a look at the dark side of prairie nature — an American Dog Tick (or Wood Tick) I saw today while I was out taking photographs of Dandelions and Early Blue Violets at the Condie Nature Refuge near Regina, Saskatchewan.

And yes, just seeing this image makes me itch! (I wore lovely light-coloured clothing and offered very little exposed skin to make myself as tick-safe as possible... If I look at this before I go out next time, though, I'll consider adding several additional helpings of DEET!)

American Dog Tick on Dandelion flower, waiting a meal... © SB

The marking on this tick's back indicate that this one is a Dog Tick, aka Wood Tick, and given its size, it's likely a female. Dog ticks aren't the species that carry the agent that causes Lyme disease, though I'm not convinced that any good can come of a tick bite! (For more on that, see tick-borne diseases at the link to CDC, below.)

Black-legged Ticks, or Deer Ticks, are the culprit for Lyme disease — although SaskHealth says they represent only about three per cent of Saskatchewan's ticks. Overall, the risk of contracting Lyme disease here in Saskatchewan is apparently low — but not zero. (You can read more on the Government of Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health Lyme Disease page.)

If you want to learn lots more about ticks — and really start your skin crawling — the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention's Stop Ticks page is a good place to start. CDC also has information on Tick Removal(Hint, tweezers really are best). And, Madisson County in New York also has a comprehensively itch-inducing tick page, with links to a Tick Bite Locator.

(For those asking — no, I did not get any ticks or tick bites today. As far as I yet know... And I may now need a second shower. Seriously, I'm way too suggestible to read this stuff, even the parts I've written myself! So this is it! Time to post and share the joy with others.)

What is this? An American Dog Tick, aka, a Wood Tick.

Location: Condie Nature Refuge, North of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.  
Photo date: May 22, 2013.


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