Deer / Backlegged Tick
Deer ticks, also called blacklegged deer ticks, are found in the eastern US. Blacklegged deer ticks have a red/orange-brown body with black legs. They prefer to feed on deer, hence the name deer tick. The females are slightly larger than the males, and they range in size from 2mm to 4mm when not engorged, about the same size as a sesame seed. Blacklegged ticks prefer to hide in the grass or shrubs and wait for a host to brush by. Larval deer ticks prefer to feed on small rodents such as white-footed mice. They will also hide in dens or nests of these hosts to feed on them. Deer ticks feed at each life stage (larvae to nymph to adult), and each time they feed, they have a chance of picking up a disease from whatever animal they feed upon. The next time they feed, they can infect whatever they feed upon, be it human, dog, cat, or other animals. The deer tick is the tick most responsible for the spread of Lyme disease.