Other Ticks Found in Maine
Woodchuck or Groundhog Tick
Species name: Ixodes cookei
Diseases it can transmit: Powassan virus which causes severe encephalitis with high morbidity and mortality. Fortunately, chances of becoming infected with this virus are very low. The first reported case in the state was in 2000, and there have been four Maine-acquired cases reported since then.
Where it's found: The "woodchuck tick", is widely distributed in Maine and is the second most common species of Ixodes species found on people
Life cycle: Woodchuck ticks usually feed on wild animals, such as woodchucks, skunks, and raccoons, but will also feed readily on humans and domestic animals.
Note: These ticks are very similar in appearance to deer ticks, so microscopic examination is required to most safely distinguish between the two species. An adult is about the size of sesame seed.
Species name: Ixodes marxi
Diseases it can transmit: Powassan virus.
Where it's found: The squirrel tick can be found throughout much of Maine, but are primarily found within the nests of their hosts. They are also frequently found in abandoned or seasonal buildings where squirrels have taken up residence.
Life cycle: Squirrels are the principal hosts, but these ticks have been found on other small to medium-size animals including other rodents, raccoons, foxes and rabbits.
Note: These ticks will only occasionally bite humans.
Ixodes angustus (no common name)
Hosts: Voles, mice
Diseases it can transmit: Although Ixodes angustus rarely bites humans, it has been found to be a potential transmitter of Lyme disease and Powassan virus.
Where it's found: It is common in many parts of Maine, typically in cool moist habitats including forests (particularly evergreen tracts) and along rivers' edges, but is rarely found outside the nest of its host.
Life cycle: Ixodes angustus feeds on mice, voles, and occasionally shrews and rats. It rarely feeds on humans or domestic animals.
Species name: Ixodes uriae
Diseases it can transmit: Although this tick maintains a European strain of the Lyme bacterium in birds, infection of humans has not been reported.
Where it's found: In Maine, these ticks can be found on offshore islands in seabird nests, grasses, and under rocks and debris.
Life cycle: The seabird tick life cycle generally takes between two and four years to complete. They feed almost exclusively on marine birds including puffins, gannets, cormorants, and penguins, and are rarely found on humans.
Ixodes gregsoni (no common name)
Hosts: Weasels family, beaver
Diseases it can transmit: Unknown
Where it's found: First found in Maine in 2003, it typically is only found attached to its host, members of the weasel family including mink, weasel and fishers, although is has been found on domestic cats.
Life cycle: Unknown
Species name: Ixodes muris
Diseases it can transmit: While it can transmit Lyme disease, no human cases of the disease have been attributed to it.
Where it's found: It is no longer a common tick species in Maine and may be being displaced by the deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). The mouse tick is typically only found in the nest of its host.
Life cycle: The mouse tick utilizes a different host during each of its three active life stages (larva, nymph, and adult). Its primary host is the white-footed mouse, though it may be found on other small mammals such rats, voles, shrews, muskrats and other mouse species. Immature stages are also commonly found on birds. In years of low mouse numbers, they may be found on domestic dogs and cats. They can and do occasionally feed on humans.
Note: The bite of this tick has been associated with a reaction in cats, dogs and other domestic animals that is characterized by pain, swelling, fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If you observe this reaction, we would like to receive the tick for identification. Please call us at (207) 396-8246 for arrangements.
Ixodes brunneus (no common name)
Diseases it can transmit: This tick has been associated with avian tick paralysis in wild birds.
Where it's found: Rarely found in Maine
Life cycle: The three active life stages -- larva, nymph, and adult -- feed exclusively on birds, typically migratory birds.
Winter or Moose Tick
Species name: Dermacentor albipictus
Diseases it can transmit: While winter ticks are not a threat to human health, they can pose a significant threat to wildlife, especially moose. Heavily infested moose can have severe anemia, skin irritation, hair loss, and be distracted from feeding. This can ultimately result in the moose's death.
Where it's found: These ticks are found in forested areas throughout Maine, particularly in central and northern counties. While found in a variety of habitats, they are strongly associated with the presence of moose.
Life cycle: The winter tick's three active life stages (larvae, nymphs, and adults) all feed on the same host animal, typically moose, deer, elk and caribou, although they occasionally are found on horses, cattle, dogs, beavers, black bears and coyotes. They produce one generation per year. Eggs are laid in June, after which the adult females die. Larvae hatch from late summer through fall, attach to moose, feed, molt to nymphs, feed again and molt to adults, all on the same animal. As many as 150,000 winter ticks have been found on a single moose. In the late winter and spring, adult females detach and drop to the ground. Hunters often have large numbers of questing larvae brush off them when hunting in the fall, causing intense itching.
Note: Winter ticks rarely bite and feed on humans.
Haemaphysalis leporispalustris (no common name)
Diseases it can transmit: Although these ticks can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia to rabbit and rodent populations, disease transmission to humans is rare.
Where it's found: In Maine, they may be found in forested habitats, and on rabbits in huge numbers when rabbit populations are high.
Life cycle: Haemaphysalis laporispalustris are found from spring through summer, and in fewer numbers in fall. The immature ticks feed on ground-dwelling birds and small animals. Adults feed primarily on rabbits.
Note: This ticks does not typically feed on humans.
Lone Star Tick
Species name: Amblyomma americanum
Diseases it can transmit: Rocky Mountain spotted fever, tularemia, tick paralysis, STARI (southern tick-associated rash illness), and ehrlichiosis which affects both humans and dogs.
Where it's found:
Where they are established in southern and mid-Atlantic states, these ticks are found in dry forested sites with shrub undergrowth and along rivers and streams. Although occasional specimens have been submitted in Maine for identification, most have come from people returning from the south. Evidence that the species is established in Maine has been is lacking, although two ticks were recently collected from vegetation in southern Oxford County.
Life cycle: This tick will feed on virtually any mammal, especially white-tailed deer, while larvae may feed on many species of birds. All stages (larvae, nymphs and adults) are active during the summer months.
Note: Some people may develop allergic reactions to red meat following the bite of a lone star tick.
Gulf Coast Tick
Species name: Amblyomma maculatum
Diseases it can transmit: A spotted fever caused by a bacterium called Rickettsia parkeri.
Where it's found: This is a tick of coastal states from Texas to Virginia extending inland in the south. It is not established in Maine, but occasional individuals may be transported here by birds.
Life cycle: A. maculatum larvae and nymphs feed on birds and small rodents, while adult ticks feed on deer and other wildlife.
Brown Dog Tick or Kennel Tick
Species name: Rhipicephalus sanguineus
Diseases it can transmit: Canine ehrlichiosis, which can be a debilitating illness in dogs, and canine babesiosis.
Where it's found: These ticks are rarely found in nature in Maine, but may be found in kennels and other areas where there is communal housing of dogs.
Life cycle: The brown dog tick utilizes a different host at each of its three active life stages. In all stages, it primarily feeds on dogs. While unlikely to feed on humans, they can be found in homes and even on beds where dogs are present. Unlike other tick species, this tick is well adapted to indoor living and can complete its entire life cycle indoors.
Note: This tick has been known to transmit the bacterium that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever but no cases have been reported in Maine.
Ixodes dentatus (no common name)
(no common name)
Diseases it can transmit: None known
Where it's found: Rarely found in Maine, it can inhabit grasslands, briar patches, brushy woodland borders, and areas with a mix of cropland.
Life cycle: Rabbits and hares are the most common hosts, especially the eastern cottontail rabbit, though immature ticks have also been collected from birds.