Dogs are the preferred host of adults of this tick species, but they will also feed readily on many other large animals. Larvae and nymphs of this species feed virtually exclusively on small, wild rodents. Newly hatched larvae are yellow with red markings near the eyes, while engorged larvae are slate-gray to black. Nymphs are similar in appearance to the larvae but have four pairs of legs instead of three pairs. Adults are generally brown, but become slate-gray when engorged.
This tick is a vector of the causal organism of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and is one of the species commonly involved with tick paralysis. This species is the most widely distributed tick of this genus in North America and is the most commonly encountered by pest management professionals. It occurs throughout the eastern and central United States.
Tick Biology, Tick Elimination
Pest Control Information American Dog Tick