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(Dermacentor variabilis)

This tick is onamerican dog ticke of the most frequently encountered and is also called the wood tick. The larvae and nymphs feed on small warm-blooded hosts such as mice and birds.  The adult will feed on humans and on medium to large mammals such as dogs and raccoons. Adults are most active in the spring, summer, and fall. Mostly found in the Piedmont, it does occur throughout North Carolina.

Unfed females and males are about 3/16 of an inch long and reddish-brown in color. The females have a large silver-colored spot behind the head. After feeding she will appear as big as a small grape. Males, on the other hand, will not increase much in size after feeding.

The American dog tick can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other diseases. It does not transmit Lyme Disease.

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