#Biodiversity150 number 41 of 150 Tick Ixodes scapularis

41/150: Everything you’ve been wanting to know about ticks!

animalia: Arthropoda: Arachnida: Ixodida: Ixodidae: Ixodinae: Ixodes: Ixodes scapularis (Say, 1821)

The blacklegged, or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) is widely known as the tick species to spread Lyme disease, a bacterial infection of Borrelia burgdorferi.  This species of tick has a distribution throughout Eastern North America, through to southern Ontario. It has been recognized that this distribution is widening rapidly – in part due to climate change and in part due to carriers such as birds, mice and deer ranging to new parts of the continent. The deer tick is not the only species of tick that can carry Lyme disease, with many other members of the Ixodes family carrying the bacteria as well, making the range for Lyme disease far vaster than that of just the deer tick.

Ticks have an interesting life history, developing from larva to nymph to adult. These different stages all need to feed on blood to survive but tend to prefer smaller mammals (such as mice) during the larval and nymph stages, compared to the larger mammals (such as deer) as an adult. Female deer ticks can consume an impressive quantity of blood during their feeding, increasing their body weight by up to 200-600 times while engorging their abdomen. Females have much a much larger abdomen segment than males do, enabling them to nourish their eggs before laying them. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

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A fully engorged Ixodes tick. Photo Credit: Richard Bartz goo.gl/fwRqAe
Female deer tick, captured on Corkscrew Island near Kenora, Ontario. Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Male deer tick, captured on Corkscrew Island near Kenora, Ontario. Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID:  SSROC5666-15

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Ixodes scapularis

Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAA1270

Title Image: Specimen DO-028 – Ontario – 20-Oct-2009 – Taken off of a bird
Photo Credit: Danielle Ondrejicka, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics