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Deer tick - Dermacentor variabilis

Deer tick - Dermacentor variabilis
Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas, USA
April 27, 2006
Size: 15mm
I'm not sure what to call this fat and happy tick. I found it referenced in a book as both the "Blacklegged tick" - Ixodes scapularis and the "Deer tick" - Ixodes dammini, with the comment that it is called by both names. Is this a regional distinction? Or perhaps I've misidentified it altogether?

Images of this individual: tag all
Deer tick - Dermacentor variabilis Deer tick - Dermacentor variabilis

Moved from Deer Tick. See comments under other image.

Scientific names are supposed to be one per type of animal, but this is one of those cases where it seems like there's an exception.

What happened here is that Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes dammini were formerly considered separate species, but it was discovered that they were really the same species. In such a case the name that was validly published first is the correct one, and the other is what is known as a junior synonym.

Of course, all the publications from before this discovery would use the two separate names (and some scientists might disagree with the claim that they're the same species), so you would find references to both names for what is now believed to be the same species.

Thank you...
...for clearing up my confusion on this. Interesting information. Also, you're correct in your description of the holding chamber I was using. It's really handy for inspecting, as well as photographing, reluctant subjects, or ones I find laying on my kitchen floor, like this one. (Ugh! I believe I'll be checking my dog more routinely from here on.)

It would help to know the size, if you forgot to measure it you can measure the squares of that screen and take it from there.

Just fyi, this is an easily-recognizable type of plastic jar with a magnifier-lid that I've seen mostly in stores aiming for the educational-toy market. Having one of my own (I bought my nephew something else and kept this one for me...), I can confirm that the squares are exactly 5 mm.

Of course, it's always better when the photographer gives the size info, so your point is a good one.

Thank you...
...for reminding me to add the size, which I will now do: 15mm.

And probably...
And probably about 5 mm when it is not engorged!


Stephen Cresswell
Buckhannon, WV