Dermacentor variabilis

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Dermacentor variabilis
American Dog Tick metric.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Subclass: Acari
Order: Ixodida
Family: Ixodidae
Genus: Dermacentor
Species: D. variabilis
Binomial name
Dermacentor variabilis
(Say, 1821)
Dermacentor variabilis range map.svg
Normal range in red; other reports in blue

Dermacentor variabilis, also known as the American dog tick or Wood tick, is a species of tick that is known to carry bacteria responsible for several diseases in humans, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia (Francisella tularensis). It is one of the most well-known hard ticks. Diseases are spread when it sucks blood from the host, which could take several days for the host to experience some symptoms.

Though D. variabilis may be exposed to Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease,[1] these ticks are not competent vectors for the transmission of this disease.[2][3][4] The primary vector for Borrelia burgdorferi is the deer tick Ixodes scapularis in Eastern parts of the United States, and Ixodes pacificus in California and Oregon. Dermacentor variabilis may also carry Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the causative agent of HGE (human granulocytic ehrlichiosis), and Ehrlichia chaffeensis, the causative agent of HME (human monocytic ehrlichiosis).[1]

Dermacentor ticks may also induce tick paralysis by elaboration of a neurotoxin that induces rapidly progressive flaccid quadriparesis similar to Guillain-Barré syndrome. The neurotoxin prevents presynaptic release of acetylcholine from neuromuscular junctions.

See also[edit]


  • Piesman J, Sinsky RJ., Ability to Ixodes scapularis, Dermacentor variabilis, and Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae) to acquire, maintain, and transmit Lyme disease spirochetes (Borrelia burgdorferi) ; J Med Entomol. 1988 Sep; 25(5):336-9.


  1. ^ a b Kevin Holden, John T. Boothby, Sulekha Anand & Robert F. Massung (2003). "Detection of Borrelia burgdorferi, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in Ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) from a Coastal Region of California". Journal of Medical Entomology 40 (4): 534–539. doi:10.1603/0022-2585-40.4.534. PMID 14680123. 
  2. ^ Joseph Piesman & Christine M. Happ (1997). "Ability of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi to infect rodents and three species of human-biting ticks (blacklegged tick, American dog tick, lone star tick) (Acari:Ixodidae)". Journal of Medical Entomology 34 (4): 451–456. PMID 9220680. 
  3. ^ F. H. Sanders & J. H. Oliver (1995). "Evaluation of Ixodes scapularis, Amblyomma americanum, and Dermacentor variabilis (Acari: Ixodidae) from Georgia as vectors of a Florida strain of the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi". Journal of Medical Entomology 32 (4): 402–426. PMID 7650697. 
  4. ^ Stanley W. Mukolwe, A. Alan Kocan, Robert W. Barker, Katherine M. Kocan & George L. Murphy (1992). "Attempted transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi (Spirochaetales: Spirochaetaceae) (JDI strain) by Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae), Dermacentor variabilis, and Amblyomma americanum". Journal of Medical Entomology 29 (4): 673–677. PMID 1495078. 

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